Indianapolis contains many sites where historical activities such as operation as a fueling station, dry cleaner, or factory have caused environmental contamination of soil, groundwater, or air with chemicals. One significant large-scale site is located in Marion County’s Riverside wellfield and is called Site 0135.
In 2013, Citizens Energy, operators of the groundwater wells in the Riverside Wellfield, notified the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) that low levels of chlorinated chemicals had been detected in untreated groundwater collected from several wells. IDEM conducted additional testing in 2014 and found five out of the nineteen wells had some level of contamination with chlorinated chemicals.
While specific wells showed detection of these chemicals, the drinking water delivered to business and residences is generally a combination of groundwater and surface water and has undergone several treatment processes. If you are interested in more details about the water treatment process, please check out our prior article. The drinking water being delivered to business and residents was and continues to be safe and meet the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The chlorinated chemicals that were detected in groundwater in this area are the result of human activities. These chemicals are the products and bi-products of chemicals used historically in the dry cleaning industries and manufacturing industries. As you may know, the Riverside wellfield is very developed (current counts of businesses in the wellfield show over 1,000 businesses in the less than nine square miles that comprise the one-year and five-year time of travel wellhead protection area). IDEM has identified almost 90 sites that could have contributed to the plume chlorinated chemicals affecting Citizens Energy groundwater wells.
If you are interested in more information, IDEM maintains a webpage dedicated to Site 0135. They have recently developed a Community Involvement Plan. If you are interested, you may comment on the plan until January 18th, 2018 by emailing Ryan Groves at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (800) 451-6024.