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Three Oaks officials come to temporary agreement with Journeyman Distillery

A cease and desist order to shut the Journeyman distilling operation in Three Oaks down remains on hold while the booming business and the village work out how to deal with wastewater issues.

Just last week, ABC 57 News told you Journeyman Distillery was on the brink of closing down after receiving that cease and desist order from village officials after they say the distillery was discharging about 3 to 5 times higher levels of biological oxygen demand, or b.o.d., than ordinance limits which means it’s the quality of the wastewater going into the lagoons that village officials are worried about.

“Our permit limit is 30 milligrams per liter of B.O.D., that’s the main thing we measure. And this past spring we discharged at 86. So our treatment system is having a hard time treating the quality of the waste,” said Mike Greene, Three Oaks Village Manager. “The quality of their loading that goes in, even though it’s only about 5 percent of the total loading that goes in, it has a tremendous effect on our system.”

A Village Council meeting was held at River Valley Elementary School on Oak Street Wednesday where a special meeting on the controversy ended in an agreement, for now.

That final decision, village officials and Bill Welter, owner of the distillery, have come to an agreement that Journeymen Distillery must haul they’re wastewater away to another treatment area outside of Three Oaks for 90 days and in the meantime, the council will brainstorm on a long term plan. The crowd, however, was not pleased once the final vote was in and says the council is setting Journeymen up for failure.

The issue, during the meeting, Welter proposed a 2-4 week window until that process begins so that he can begin searching for places that will accept their wastewater, perhaps help them transport it, as well as look into the engineering involved, and the council agreed to the minimum of two weeks.

“That’s just part of being a business owner but I guess the question isn’t really ‘is two weeks enough time’, it’s, we said we needed two to four weeks and the council said two so we’ll make every effort to meet it.” said Welter.

Stick with ABC 57 News for the very latest in this developing story.

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