EPA announces Indianapolis as possible Superfund city for groundwater contamination investigation

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 7, 2016) - The Environmental Protection Agency announced this week Indianapolis is a potential site for a Superfund cleanup list. The news comes after The Indiana Department of Environmental Management submitted a years-long investigation of contaminated groundwater to the EPA.

The contamination was discovered in 2014 by Citizens Energy Group at two wells located on the city's west side. Trace levels of dichloroethylene and vinyl chloride were found. According to Citizens, the levels are below what's considered unsafe. Officials stress there is no concern for the safety of drinking water.

"That drinking water is absolutely safe. We have found no levels of these compounds in our finished drinking water," explained Citizens Energy Group Corporate Communications Manager, Dan Considine.

Citizens Energy Group says they test groundwater wells multiple time each year. CBS4 got a look inside one of the labs where the testing is done. A chemist was testing for levels of compounds that takes about 30 minutes to complete.

There is concern over where the contaminants are coming from. Through IDEM's investigation, they found more than 250 possible contamination sources. They include businesses on the city's west side.

"We don’t know if it came from spills, we don’t know if it was drums that were leaking. We really just don’t know that," said Peggy Dorsey, IDEM Deputy Assistant Commissioner Office of Land Equality.

If Indianapolis is selected as a Superfund site, it would mean abundant resources to investigate the contaminate source that the state cannot provide.

“Human resources as far as do we have enough staff that could tackle and investigation that could potentially be of a large magnitude and financial resources as well," Dorsey said.  “A Superfund site typically costs millions of dollars not only to investigative, but to also remediate and so that just goes beyond what the state typically has as financial or staff resources."

We will find out in September if Indianapolis is selected. The EPA is holding a 60 day public comment period. For more information on the report, click here. 

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