Rickers Petroleum– bad for the drinking water and bad for the river

Rickers Oil, a central Indiana retailer, with corporate headquarters in Anderson, is certainly managing to make its mark on the White River. Unfortunately, that mark is not one of beauty or beneficence— but rather of willfulness and potential pollution of our waterway and our public water supply.

On November 20th, at a meeting of the Citizens Water Technical Advisory Group. It was announced that the Carmel Plan Commission has recently approved the site and operations plan for a new retail gasoline dispensing operation at 146th and River Road. This is within the wellfield of Citizens Water’s groundwater wells. Carmel also has nearby wells– but these would not be affected in event of a spill and pollution of the groundwater (the groundwater flows away from the Carmel wells). Citizens Water’s wells would be potentially adversely affected in event of an uncontained spill.

The site itself was (ill-advisedly) zoned by Carmel for gasoline sales several years ago, and as a result, and despite much community opposition, the Rickers company decided to lawyer-up to aggressively press its legal case to locate gasoline sales at that location in a public water supply wellfield.  Private property rights, you know. Rickers and Carmel had much resistance from technical experts, including Citizens Water, which tried to make the case to Carmel officials that a petroleum operation didn’t belong in a public water supply wellfield.  Despite these concerns, the Carmel Plan Commission gave its stamp of approval.

Anderson’s Quinn Ricker is the person to whom is attributed the idea of creating a reservoir on White River in Anderson. He said it would boost economic development. However, he obviously didn’t think much about the ecological destruction which would occur by damming the river.

Will the CED’s Phase 2 feasibility study thoroughly evaluate all of the negative impacts?  Time will tell.

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