Agency Seeks Comments on Terre Haute Contamination

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is seeking public comments on its health consultation for the Elm Street Groundwater Contamination Site in Terre Haute. The health consultation found that the contaminated water from the site poses no apparent public health hazard since the blending and treatment of drinking water by the Indiana American Water Company (IAWC) has lessened the contamination to levels below a health concern.

Groundwater near the site contains low concentrations of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The vertical wells that provide groundwater to the municipal water supply are contaminated with chlorinated solvents tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), and 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane (1, 1, 1-TCA). Three industrial sites that are located to the east of the IAWC facility are possible sources of the groundwater contamination. Currently, most of the municipal water is being supplied by the radial collector, which, except on rare occasions, contains no detectable levels of contamination.

The health consultation recommends:

•All known sources or work practices resulting in contamination to groundwater at the site should be remediated, if possible.

•The extent of groundwater contamination on the eastern boundary should be determined.

•U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies should sample private wells and Wabash River water near the radial collector for VOCs and pesticides to determine the water quality.

•EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management should consider placing monitoring wells north of the radial collector well to help identify contaminants from any sources besides the Elm Street Groundwater Contamination Site.

•If water contamination levels change, IAWC should take measures to reduce the contamination based on the EPA's National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

Residents are encouraged to read the health consultation and make comments through May 5. A copy of the health consultation is at Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

Comments on the health consultation must be made in writing. Mail comments to Records Center, ATSDR, ATTN: Elm Street Groundwater Contamination Site, 1600 Clifton Road, N.E. MS F-09, Atlanta, GA 30333.

ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances.

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