EPA holds Franklin open house ahead of contamination clean up set to begin soon

WTHR photo

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WTHR) - After a year of testing, the EPA says it’s time to clean up the underground contamination in Franklin.

On Wednesday night, agency experts met with residents living in the area threatened by the toxins.

13 Investigates has the plan to keep crews and residents safe.

The EPA announced work will start August 26. Interruptions to residents are expected to be minimal, beginning in the Ross court area where the contamination is the worst.

“I think the whole thing will make people uneasy to a certain extent because it’s a visual reminder that there’s a problem,” said Kari Rhinehart, co-founder of the group If It Was Your Child.

Rhinehart has been a catalyst in raising concerns about the contamination since 2015. She and other parents brought their concerns about high pediatric cancer rates to 13 Investigates. WTHR first revealed TCE and PCE contamination in Franklin.

The EPA cleanup of toxic chemicals seeping through the sewers and groundwater in Franklin is just weeks away.

1000 feet of sewer will be replaced. But first crews will dig up trenches along the sewer line to remove contaminated soil and groundwater.

“This is a good start,” added Rhinehart.

The water will actually be treated at the site before it’s released into the sanitary sewer system. And it must meet drinking water standards before it’s released.

The EPA says it’s biggest concern is keeping contaminated dust from escaping into the air.

The plan is for continuous air monitoring throughout the project

“Dust or some of these particles might escape. There might be still be some volatile organic chemicals in those pipes and so we want to make sure that we are protecting the workers and of course anyone else,” said Joe Cisneros, EPA Region 5 Chief over Chemicals and Land.

If levels spike above what’s safe the sites will be shut down until the levels decrease.

The cleanup will go up Forsythe Street to Hamilton Avenue and eventually address the source of the contamination on the Amphenol site itself.

The cleanup is expected to be wrapped up by the end of November.

13 Investigates will keep you updated.

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