|Final Soil Testing Results |
Blackford County Concerned Citizens, in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council, tested soil for heavy metals that might have been left behind by the glass industry decades ago. There used to be a glass factory on the property that now has the Babe Ruth baseball field and Southside Elementary School in Hartford City, and there was another at Montpelier's Little League field. The glass factories used arsenic and lead in the manufacturing process, and could have contaminated the soil. Arsenic and lead do not break down over time.
|American Window Glass factory 1909|
|American Window Glass site in Hartford City 2015|
|Blackford County soil samples in bags awaiting testing.|
All of the soil samples from Montpelier and Southside Elementary School had the same low levels of arsenic and lead as soil generally does in this part of Indiana. A few deposits of arsenic and lead were found at Hartford City's baseball field, high enough to exceed Indiana's residential standard, but well within the standard for recreational fields.
The mayors of both cities and the Blackford County Schools participated in the soil sampling project to ensure the safety of the county's children. "I am pleased to find that the results of the study done by the Blackford Concerned Citizens revealed no dangerous levels of contaminants in the soil that was tested in Montpelier. We will continue to make every effort to ensure the safety of our residents," said Kathy Bantz, mayor of Montpelier
Ben Hodgin, mayor of Hartford City, was glad to have the question about the glass factory's impact answered. "I'm glad to see the results," he said. "It shows that we don't have a major problem."
Dr. Indra Frank, environmental health project director with the Hoosier Environmental Council, said that while levels are within state standards, they are high enough to exercise caution when at the baseball fields. "If my own children were playing at the Hartford City baseball field, I would take some extra precautions to minimize their exposure." Dr. Frank recommends parents do a few simple things to limit exposure to the soil:
Dr. Frank indicated that while sports are fine, the Hartford City property that has the Babe Ruth field should not be developed for housing or used for growing food crops in the future unless the soil is remediated.
- Don't let children get the soil in their mouths
- After spending time there, wash your hands and children's hands
- Wash clothes that have soil on them (like baseball uniforms)
- Leave shoes that have been to the site at the door, don't wear them into your home
With projects like this Blackford County Concerned Citizens is working to find and reduce exposures that could increase the risk of cancer or neurologic disease. The full reports on the soil testing are available at BCCC's website. For more on the Hoosier Environmental Council's work for a healthy environment see www.hecweb.org.