Indiana Water Well Field Proposed as EPA Cleanup Priority

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Federal officials are considering adding a well field in central Indiana to the national Superfund list for cleanup.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management referred the Wheeler well field in Anderson to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for long-term cleanup funding.

There is a 60-day public comment period before sites can be added to the EPA’s national priorities list.

The state environmental agency reported finding volatile organic compounds, including trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene and dichloroethene, in the finished water at the area’s treatment plant in 2011. Vinyl chloride was also found in raw water in 2013.

The origins of the contaminants remain unknown despite several investigations.

The EPA said contamination has been identified in three of the area’s eight wells, which provide water to 13,000 Anderson residents.

Officials said the city’s drinking water is safe and tested quarterly, the Herald Bulletin reported.

“Water produced by the city of Anderson’s Water Department meets all state and federal safety standards and the environmental work provided through the Superfund program will help ensure continued water safety and quality,” said Bruno Pigott, commissioner of the state’s environmental management department.

Neal McKee, director of the city’s water department, said that Anderson installed air strippers at the treatment plant in 2000. He said the air strippers have been efficiently removing the contaminants.

McKee also said it’s common to find contaminants in well water.

The city will continue to use the site as a water source until the construction of a new treatment plant and work on additional wells in the Lafayette field are completed, according to McKee. He said the transition should occur within the next 18 months.

Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the city will keep ensuring that residents have a safe drinking water supply regardless of the Superfund site decision.

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