Ground water contamination plume enters homes in the area


Posted on: January 11th, 2019 by [email protected] No Comments

On August 16, 2018, Mayor Ron Meer of Michigan City announced that the City would seek to conduct air testing in all residences in a four block area bounded by Tryon Street, Walker Street, Michigan Boulevard, and 8th Street, in an effort to determine if vapors from the former Concord Cleaners ground water contamination plume are entering homes in this area.  The purpose of this Press Release is to provide an update on the results from those sampling activities.

Important Background Facts

  1. The City is not a Potential Responsible Party (PRP) for the contamination and they are not having this Vapor Intrusion sampling and testing or the ground water monitoring work conducted as any part of an IDEM enforcement action. The City is having this work conducted voluntarily, out of a concern for the public welfare and safety of its residents.
  • The Michigan City Redevelopment Commission (City) acquired the former Chrysler Dealership located at 1033 E. Michigan Boulevard, Michigan City, Indiana (the corner of 11th Street and Michigan Boulevard), from the County Commissioners after it didn’t sell at a tax sale.  Prior to the Chrysler Dealership, this location was the site of a former Concord Cleaners, owned by the Begley Company.  In an effort to develop and beautify this location, the City began investigating whether historical contamination on the site exists.  The City did not pay for this property, it was acquired free of charge.
  • During this recent investigation, and as part of a lawsuit brought against the Begley Company by the City, it was discovered that pollution from dry cleaning chemicals used by the former Concord Cleaners has gotten into the ground water and migrated with the movement of the ground water to the north/northwest toward Trail Creek.
  • The City has reported these findings to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and IDEM has advised that they will be investigating this matter further.

Plume Area

It has been determined that pollution from dry cleaning chemicals used by the former Concord Cleaners has gotten into the ground water and migrated with the ground water to the north/northwest toward Trail Creek.  The plume area has been defined as a relatively narrow band of contaminated ground water that has the potential to affect homes in the area bounded by East Michigan Street to the southwest, East 8th Street to the northwest, Walker Street to the northeast and Tryon Street to the southeast (see Plume Map).

Sampling and Testing

The City is not a Potential Responsible Party (PRP) for the contamination and they are not having this Vapor Intrusion sampling and testing or the ground water monitoring work conducted as any part of an IDEM enforcement action. The City is having this work conducted voluntarily, out of a concern for the public welfare and safety of its residents.

IDEM guidance dictates that all homes above the contamination plume and within 100 feet of the contamination plume be sampled and tested for vapor intrusion. This amounts to 32 homes. However, out of an abundance of caution, the City agreed to conduct air testing, on a volunteer basis, in all residences in a four block area bounded by Tryon Street, Walker Street, Michigan Boulevard, and 8th Street.

All 32 homes above the contamination plume and within 100 feet of the contamination plume were sampled for vapor intrusion testing purposes, with the exception of one (1) home that denied access for such sampling, and a total of 16 homes outside the 100-foot buffer zone were also sampled.

Sampling activities included Pre-Sampling Walkthrough Activities, Indoor Air Sampling, and Sub-Slab Air Collection.  The sampling was conducted on August 30, 2018, October 2-16, 2018, and November 20, 2018.

Sampling Results

  1. Sub-Slab sampling and all Indoor Air sampling were below the IDEM Immediate Action Levels.
  • Indoor Air sampling were also below the IDEM Screening Levels, with the exception of two (2) residences that showed results slightly above the Screening Levels for tetrachloroethene and trichloroethane.  There are currently no precautions that the residents of these two homes need to take because the results are below the Immediate Action Levels.  Additionally, because the results of the Sub-Slab sampling in these two homes did not show results above the Immediate Action Levels, it is possible that the source of these chemicals is from a source other than the ground water contamination plume, such as from products used in the homes.

Notification to IDEM, Home owners and Residents

Future Work

Quote

Mayor Ron Meer said, “I am extremely proud of my staff for quickly implementing this work and for their dedication to the health and well-being of the residents of our community.  Recent reports, from around the State, of the health effects of potential ground water contamination, demonstrates the need for communities to act quickly in the best interest of public health when such situations are discovered.  My administration will continue to react quickly and to take the necessary steps to help ensure the safety of our residents.  As long as I am the Mayor, I assure you, Michigan City will can continue to be a leader in the area of public health and safety, and hopefully other communities throughout Indiana can look to Michigan City as a strong example where such efforts are creating positive results.”



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