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MidStates Steel and Wire: Success and Failure. By: Chris, Mark, Alex and Brittany. MidStates; The Beginning. Industry has played a vital role in the growth of Montgomery County since the late 1800’s.

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MidStates Steel and Wire: Success and Failure

By: Chris, Mark, Alex and Brittany

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MidStates; The Beginning

  • Industry has played a vital role in the growth of Montgomery County since the late 1800’s.

  • Organized in 1900, the Crawfordsville Wire and Nail company grew from a small beginning to one of Crawfordsville's greatest assets

  • The plant drew its wire from rods shipped from the Keystone plant at Peoria, Illinois.

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  • MidStates was formed in March 1928, when the Wire and Nail Company was purchased from its owners.

  • By 1929,the plant had a wire drawing capacity of 175 tons every 24 hours.

  • It was eventually merged with the Dwiggins Wire Fence Company of Anderson to become MidStates Steel and Wire Company.

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  • MidStates introduced many new technology machines and ideas.

  • They supplied many jobs for people in and around the Crawfordsville area.

  • It was one of the most successful businesses of its kind in the Midwest.

  • It helped business in Montgomery county boom.

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Brand New Technology

  • The Hooded Automatic Pickler (HAP).

  • It was the first company in the nation to put this process into working condition.

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New Technology Contd.

  • It cleans rods using a sulfuric acid and water solution.

  • There are only five of these such processes in the world, and it was started by Gus Generis.

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Inside the HAP

  • Cost: $2 million

  • Contains its own closed circuit.

  • Allows the operator to select a cleaning process and transports the rods through the machine within seconds.

  • The wire isn’t manually handled until it is transported to the next station.

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Acid Pollution

  • Nails and equipment were rusting

  • The sulfuric acid was used to get rid of rust

  • Leftover acid was dumped underground

  • Trees started growing over waste

  • People started to doubt Midstates’ procedures

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Closing open Doors

  • Midstates closed in 1997 due to loss of business partners.

  • The owners never came back to clean up

  • Many chemical barrels were left

  • Became a huge fire threat.

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The End of MidStates

  • Two tragic fires eventually engulfed the building

  • Arson was thought to be the cause

  • Homeless people and/or teenagers were blamed.

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Explanation of The First Fire

  • The first fire, happened on March 31, 2003.

  • The fire turned out to be a three-block residential area evacuation.

  • A local plant had to shut down and people were to leave their homes for the rest of the day.

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Explanation of The Second Fire

  • The second fire, happened on April 29, 2003.

  • It was said that an adolescent who started the fire.

  • Another possibility is that juveniles or even mid-aged people may had methamphetamine laboratories.

  • The second fire caused an evacuation and local companies to be shut down

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Problems Caused By Fires..

  • Breathing Problems for local residents.

  • Burnt down building in a residential area.

  • The company site still hasn’t been cleaned up and it has been well over a year.

  • Anyone who visits this area could become ill from these poisonous pollutants in the air.

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Costs of Damages and Repairs

  • The total cost of damages needed to be repaired will be approximately $279,000.

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MidStates Today

  • 2 Lafayette attorneys have bought the factory

  • Improvements have been made since.

  • Doubts still remain

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The Pollution Conflict

Effects of zinc, lead, and oil/lubricant combustion, and many other pollution-related problems

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Oil/Lubricant Combustion

  • The act of burning oil, lubricants, and other fuel-related chemicals in a non-proper form

  • Also called PIC’s (Products of Incomplete Combustion)

  • Midstates claims oil/lubricants were used to help manufacture products

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What caused the pollution

  • Abandoned oils/lubricants were left in the factory when Midstates shut down

  • Fires have reached the chemicals, polluting air with smoke and combustion pollutants

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Combustion pollutants

  • Harmful chemicals caused by burning other dangerous pollutants

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Carbon monoxide (CO)

  • Odorless and colorless gas

  • Hundreds die each year from CO in their homes

  • Reduces the ability of hemoglobin in blood

  • Causes:

    • Paralysis

    • Coma

    • Death

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Nitrogen dioxide(NO2)

  • Damages the respiratory tract

  • Highly toxic

  • Red-brown gas

  • Or:

  • Yellow liquid

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Sulfur dioxide(SO2)

  • Irritates:

    • Eyes

    • Nose

    • Respiratory tract

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  • Tiny particles that make up smoke

  • Damages:

    • Eyes

    • Throat

    • Nose

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Health effects

  • Combustion pollutants can cause such problems as:

    • Headaches

    • Dizziness

    • Sleepiness

    • Nausea

    • Irritated Eyes

    • Breathing difficulties

    • Cancer

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Lead (Pb) Poisoning

  • No obvious symptoms

  • Causes loss of auditory memory

  • Destroys red blood cells

  • Brain damage

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Zinc (Zn) Poisoning

  • Causes:

    • Vomiting

    • Nausea

    • Liver/Kidney failure

    • Anemia

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What is the Exxon Valdez

  • The Exxon Valdez is an oil tanker that ran aground in Alaska on March 23 1989.

  • It was one of the most know oil accidents in the World.

  • The captain was Joe Hazelwood.

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How Did the Accident Occur

  • The tanker was headed toward icebergs, but was unable to be steered away by both Gregory Cousins and Robert Kagan

  • Gregory Cousins was his third mate and was presumed to be fatigued during the accident.

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How Did the Accident Occur

  • Exxon hit the iceberg and then curved off toward the land

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How Does This Compare to Other Accidents

  • The Exxon Valdez is one of the largest oil spills in the United States.

  • It is considered the #1 spill in terms of damage to the environment.

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Compared to Other Accidents

  • 1,300 miles were impacted by oil.

  • 200 miles were heavily impacted.

  • It cause one of the hardest clean ups in the history of spills

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The Big Clean-Up

  • It took more than four summers of clean up efforts before the clean up was called off.

  • Not all beaches were cleaned.

  • The clean up effort included; 10,000 workers, 1,000 boats, and 100 airplanes.

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Clean-Up Continued

  • The clean up cost about $2.1 billion

  • They used hot water treatment, mechanical cleanup, and chemical agents.

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Environment Effects

  • It is unknown how many deaths of animals there were from the spill.

  • The carcasses of more than 35,000 birds and 1,000 sea otters were found after the spill.

  • The results of tests taken near the spill are still unknown

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Another Case

  • The MidStates building also had lead and zinc poisoning.

  • A mine located in Marmorilik in West Greenland also had problems with lead and zinc.

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Another Case

  • The mine resulted in serious lead and zinc pollution of a large nearby fjord system.

  • High levels of lead and zinc were found in seawater, sediments, seaweed, and fish around the area.

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Ways to solve Midstate’s problem

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Solution I

  • Haul all harmful chemicals out of Midstates

  • Pros-

    • No more pollution by Midstates to affect Crawfordsville

    • No more harmful fires

  • Cons

    • Chemicals would affect other areas

    • Disaster could occur from car crash, acid rain, etc.

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Solution II

  • Demolish the Midstates building and have a massive cleanup

  • Pros-

    • The Midstates area will be clean

    • Make way for new economic opportunities

  • Cons

    • Chemicals could escape and cause major pollution problems

    • Demolishing the building could affect other buildings

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Solution III

  • Pollution-eating bacteria

  • Pros-

    • Would break down all chemicals into atoms, causing no more harm

    • Less labor work

  • Cons-

    • Don’t know if product is 100% effective

    • Bacteria may eat something else after done eating chemicals

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  • EVOS-Oil Spill Facts-Q & A, April 21st, 2004 www.oilspill.state.ak.us/facts/qanda.html

  • EVOS-Oil Spill Facts-Photos, April 21st, 2004 www.oilspill.state.ak.us/facts/photos.html

  • Valdez Link.com, April 21st, 2004 www.valdezlink.com/inpol/pages/album.htm

  • Batelle.org, April 21st


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Bibliography (continued)

  • Chemical Elements.com, April 30th, 2004


    · Chemistry: Webelements Periodic Table, April 30th, 2004


  • Corwin, Dan. Interviewed May 7th, 2004.

  • Zinc Poisoning, April 30th, 2004 http://www.birdieboutique.com/zincpoisoning.html

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Bibliography (continued)

  • Environmental Protection Agency – Sulfur Dioxide, April 30th, 2004,


  • Sources of Indoor Pollution, April 29th,2004 http://www.epa.gov/iaq/no2.html

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  • The Journal Review, May 6th, 2004, http://www.journalreview.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=8697&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&S=1

  • Cline, Pat. “Mid-States pioneers new process in U.S.”. Montgomery. April 1978

  • Curtin, Charles and Gineris, Gus.“Inland Wire Products Company”. Mid-Statements. 1957

Bibliography continued55 l.jpg

  • Posthauer, Ron. Interviewed May 7th, 2004.

  • Cline, Pat. Crawfordsville: A Pictorial History. St. Louis: G. Bradley Publishing, 1991.

  • Pollution Eating Bacteria. May 3rd, 2004. http://newsdesk.inel.gov/press_releases/1998/prpollutioneatingbacteria2.html

  • CBC News: Pollution-eating bacteria may help with cleanups. May 3rd, 2004. http://www.cbc.ca/stories/2002/10/31/tca021031