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In 1993, Acme Brick Co. Regional Engineer Rick Hice began investigating natural solutions to a natural problem—acidic runoff from pine woodlands located above Acme’s plant in Perla, Ark. The acid rainwater washed across the Perla property and continued downstream.
The traditional approach to this problem involved the continued addition of neutralizing chemicals to the runoff water. Acme’s staff opted for a more efficient, ecologically sound and cost-effective solution that became the “Wetlands Project.” A series of five filtrations ponds were built, and special aquatic plants were established that could neutralize the acidic water. Each pond was one acre in size.
Now, 20 years later, Acme’s Wetlands reportedly continue to fulfill their original mission and more. The area has evolved into a wildlife haven for creatures such as deer, small game and waterfowl, including some geese that came and never left. The project has also become a teaching tool that is visited by secondary schools and universities.
“To see this area now so lush and full of life is an amazing bonus benefit to our original goal of solving the acid runoff problem,” said Dennis Knautz, president and CEO. “The wetlands has become a real contributor to the ecological health of this area.”
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