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EPA offers Elkhart water hookups to Lane Street homes; meeting Oct. 15

Release Date: 10/10/2008
Contact Information: EPA) Mick Hans, (312) 353-5050, (EPA) William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254, (IDEM) Amy Hartsock, 317-233-4927

No. 08-OPA159

CHICAGO (Oct. 9, 2008) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 begins a construction project the week of Oct. 20 to bring municipal water line connections to about 30 homes in Elkhart, Ind.'s Lane Street area.

All of the homes currently have private drinking water wells that are contaminated or threatened by the hazardous chemical trichloroethylene, or TCE, in area ground water. The chemical is a common industrial solvent often used for cleaning machinery. The water hookups-funded by EPA's Superfund program-are expected to be completed by early December.

EPA will host a meeting to discuss the project on Wednesday Oct. 15, 7 to 9 p.m., at Osolo Elementary School. 24975 CR 6 E., Elkhart. Representatives from IDEM, as well as local officials, will also be available.

The Lane Street homeowners affected by the contamination are being contacted directly by EPA. To perform the hookups at no charge, EPA requires signed property access forms. Since the discovery of the contamination in 2007, Indiana Department of Environmental Management has provided affected residents with water filtration systems or provided bottled water.

On a separate track from the water line construction, EPA and IDEM are investigating the potential source, or sources of the contamination. Once this is determined, EPA and IDEM will propose a long-term approach to the site.

TCE is a colorless liquid. Drinking or breathing high levels of TCE may cause nervous system effects, liver and lung damage and abnormal heartbeat.

Residents with questions about the project or who need special accommodations at the meeting may contact EPA Community Involvement Coordinator Janet Pope, 312-353-0628, or Questions about the project may also be directed to the Elkhart Public Works' Linda Weaver, 574-293-2572.

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