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Fountain Square residents concerned over odor coming from business, owner says they're working to fix it

Posted at 6:19 PM, Oct 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-16 18:20:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS— Residents in Fountain Square are raising concerns over what they say is an odor and leaking material coming from a nearby business.

"It’s a terrible, terrible smell," said Dawn Ramsey, a Fountain Square resident.

Ramsey has lived on Deloss Street her entire life and was there more than 30 years ago when Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Corp set up shop.


"I really wish they would move," said Ramsey.

Ramsey says for years an odor has been coming from the business.

"You can’t be outside, you don’t want your windows open," said Ramsey.

Ramsey says a few years ago she went directly to the business to address the issue, but they didn't give her a response. She says now that there's more development happening in Fountain Square people are taking notice.

"It’s pretty substantial from a health perspective for children and families who are trying to enjoy and live in the neighborhood," said Dakota Pawlicki, the president of the Fountain Square Neighborhood Association.

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Pawlicki says within a few blocks of Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Corp is a park, two schools, and 70 homes. Last year, neighbors started digging into where the odor is coming from and what can be done.

"What we’ve heard from the state and other agencies is there’s no other company like this in the state that operates in a dense neighborhood," said Pawlicki.

Commercial Grease Trap Cleaning Corp is a facility that treats domestic septage and grease trap waste and is permitted through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Their permit was up for renewal in May and is now under review.

During an inspection in April, IDEM found a number of violations including a fourth tank was added to the process without prior written approval from IDEM, there were no “No Trespassing” signs posted at the facility and the building floor was covered with a heavy buildup of grease.

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According to IDEM, all of those issues were corrected at their latest inspection at the end of August.

Residents in Fountain Square brought their concerns to State Representative Blake Johnson. Johnson says he and Senator Andrea Hunley wrote a letter to IDEM encouraging them to hold a public hearing on the issue.

"From my perceptive it’s not what the business does you know, it’s commercial grease it’s got to be dealt with one way or the other. It’s how they’re doing it and it’s right now being done with complete disregard for the impacts on the neighbors, so my hope is that we can get to a place where there’s some pressure and some willingness to collaborate in a way that mitigates the odor and makes the quality of life for the neighbors," said Johnson.

WRTV spoke with Scott Isaacs, the owner of Commercial Grease Traps Cleaning Corp, over the phone. Isaacs says he's aware the odor has been an intermittent issue, but always addresses it and wants to be a good neighbor. Isaacs says he's never had an issue getting his permit renewed in years past.

Thepublic hearing is scheduled for Wednesday October 18th at 6 p.m. It will be held at Southeast Community Services. During the public meeting on Oct. 18, IDEM will explain the septage process and permitting process. During the subsequent hearing (immediately following the meeting), citizens will have an opportunity to submit written comments and/or make statements. The public comment period ends on Oct. 23. Information on how to submit comments by mail or email is available on IDEM’s website [].

IDEM expects a final decision to be issued by the end of the year.