FRANKLIN, Ind. — The Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 coordinated an open house meeting for the people of Franklin, specifically those whose homes are near the site of the sewer replacement project expected to begin on August 26.
This project is to replace the existing contaminated clay sewer line with a PVC sewer pipe and backfill around it.
"We went back, took a look at the contamination that we had initially discovered out there, and realized that it was above those levels," Joe Cisneros, Chief of Remediation Branch at EPA Region 5, explained. "We sampled, found out the extent of that contamination, and have now come back to clean it up, and that's what the sewers are—they're the source of that contamination."
The EPA said the sewer line should be complete, and the roads impacted should be open by the end of 2019. President of CrossRoad Engineers Trent Newport is doing the work for the city on this project. He said the completion date depends on contamination.
"The project's going to take the rest of the construction season," Newport said. "A little bit of that depends on how much contaminated soil there is to remove. So it's kind of one of those projects that's a little different than most in that we don't really know."
The sewer replacement project is happening on Forsythe Street and Hamilton Avenue. Contractors will work in the area between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. usually. Cisneros said the material around and underneath the sewer line is where the contamination "has remained for 30 years."
"They [the sewer lines] cracked, they have materials come in from the outside, tree roots, things like that," Cisneros said. "So they become cracked and porous and worn, and so when these chemicals, PCE and TCE, entered the sewer, they kind of went in and saturated the sewer and migrated outside and into the sand and gravel that surrounds the sewer."
The contaminated material taken from the sewer replacement project will be disposed of safely and properly, the EPA said. They said it will go into a metal roll-off box they will seal, cover with tarp and transport to the former Bendix Corp. facility on Hurricane Road. The material will be tested and sent for disposal at an approved landfill within a few days.
The EPA said the agency has a plan in place to get all of the contaminated material removed.
"If it's possible, when they have the trench open, they'll just chase the contamination and continue to remove the materials," Cisneros said. "If they do happen to not get the results until after a trench has been closed for whatever reason, we will require them to go back and remove that material."
IWM Consulting Group is the team tasked with testing and removal of any contaminated material during this excavation. The EPA said air will be monitored on a continuous bases around the work area during the project. Work will temporarily stop until they can correct the problem if the monitoring suggests the readings are above the approved EPA levels.
The crews will also inspect private sewer laterals within the work area. If given permission by the property owner, engineers said they will replace the laterals with PVC sewer pipe.
What Neighbors Living Along the Project's Path Need to Know
Engineers and the EPA said people will be able to come and go from their property. If there is a disruption, CrossRoad's staff will call property owners and develop a plan until the owner can get back into their home.
"We'll be able to get them in and out and get emergency vehicles and those kinds of things in," Newport said.
Mail delivery will continue throughout the project. If the U.S. Postal Service asks the contractor to relocate neighbors' mailboxes to a centralized location, the USPS and project staff will notify homeowners.
A plan for trash service will be developed through coordination with property owners and trash delivery.
Newport said water and sewer may be cut off temporarily during construction. If this is necessary, construction crews said they will do their best to talk with homeowners beforehand and coordinate the best time to interrupt their water and sewer usage.
The EPA said CrossRoads Engineers will update adjacent property owners about the project through bi-weekly newsletters. They will also go door-to-door if needed. The City of Franklin is to post the bi-weekly newsletters on its website. The EPA will share those newsletters with the email distribution list they acquired from public meetings like the one on Wednesday evening.