The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed getting rid of the limits for how much coal ash can be used as fill at construction sites. A resident from the northwest Indiana town of Pines will speak against the proposal at a public hearing on Wednesday.
Coal ash from a nearby landfill contaminated drinking water wells in Pines with toxic heavy metals. Ash was also used as fill in construction sites at homes and roads in the area.
The EPA says yards that have high levels of arsenic in the soil have been sufficiently cleaned up. But Cathi Murray, a long-time resident and Pines town council member, disagrees.
She says contractors for the responsible party, the utility NIPSCO, only excavated three feet of contaminated soil in those residences.
“They put an orange barrier there as a thing to show that OK, anything below this orange barrier still is contaminated,” she says.
Murray says that though many residents are on municipal water now, the aquifer is still contaminated. She says no studies have been done to look at how drinking contaminated water in Pines has affected residents’ health.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.