Hazardous waste site threatening water supply now on Superfund list


A hazardous waste site contaminating groundwater near Fall Creek, is now on the EPA's Superfund list.

The Fall Creek watershed sits 600 feet southwest from what's now deemed one of the country's most complex hazardous waste sites.

Contamination in the soil, groundwater, and five municipal wells for drinking water prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to add the site near Fall Creek Parkway North and North Keystone Avenue to its Superfund list for extensive cleanup.

"Anything to help, especially when you have children," said Miranda Butler in response to the EPA's announcement.

Miranda Butler is new to the neighborhood, and one of nearly 14,000 residents to get warnings from the EPA about volatile organic compounds seeping into the water supply and underneath homes, posing potential health risks.

"I don't usually drink it. I get bottled water," she said. "He'll drink water out of the tap sometimes, you know, especially in the bathtub or out of the sink real quick. It'll be nice to know that it's clean and safe," she added.

"We do use groundwater as a source of supply for our customers, we wanted to be particularly mindful of how we use those wells and how we're using the water in the Fall Creek supply basin to supply our customers," said Ann McIver the Director of Environmental Stewardship at Citizens Energy Group.

Citizens Energy has taken one of its wells out of service due to the levels of contamination.
The EPA now requires quarterly testing at the Fall Creek water treatment facility, but Citizens says it is doing more.

"We do monthly monitoring of our finished water at the Fall Creek Plant, to ensure that the water we're delivering to our customers is safe," McIver explained as chemist in the utility's lab performed well testing to provide to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The contamination was first detected more than a decade ago at the site of an old dry cleaning business. Clean-up has been slow because state and federal investigators can't determine who's responsible. As many as 40 different businesses could share the blame, for a problem now requiring some homeowners to install systems to prevent vapor intrusion.

This superfund designation means automatically opening up federal funds to help with the cleanup. It also means a 10-percent match in funds from the state of Indiana. Ultimately, it provides more assurances to the residents who live in this area that their drinking water will be safe.