|BCCC Keeping an Eye on Cleanup |
Hartford Iron and Metal in Hartford City is undergoing a cleanup mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Blackford County Concerned Citizens (BCCC) is worried that the contaminants present could have a health impact in the community. BCCC in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council has reviewed more than 3000 pages of documents that are part of the public record. On August 3, 2015, representatives of BCCC and HEC met with IDEM officials to discuss the cleanup. The following is a synopsis of what we have learned.
|Meeting on August 3. Left to right: Edward Chikwana and Indra Frank from the Hoosier Environmental Council; Eric Evans and Joe Castelo from BCCC; Nancy Johnston, Paul Higginbotham, and Don Snemis from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.|
Hartford Iron entered into an Agreed Order with IDEM about their cleanup in 2009, and the first step in the cleanup process was a site assessment that included many soil and water samples. The samples showed that the Hartford Iron property is heavily contaminated with a long list of chemicals.
A portion of the cleanup has been done, but there is a good deal more to come. According to the officials we met with at IDEM, there are several more cleanup steps that are expected in the near future, including soil excavation, ground water monitoring, and a more robust system for treating storm water run off.
If you are worried that dust from Hartford Iron comes into your home or yard, the following steps can reduce your exposure:
- Wash your hands before eating, drinking, smoking or feeding children
- Wash children's hands and faces often, especially before eating
- Make sure any toy or utensil a child puts in his or her mouth is clean
- Wet mop floors and wet wipe surfaces frequently to remove dust
- Vacuum carpets, rugs and upholstery
- Remove shoes when entering the house
- Wipe dirt off of pets' feet before they enter the house
- Keep windows and doors closed when it's windy
- If you grow fruits or vegetables, wash them very carefully and peel them, if possible. Also, consider having your garden soil tested
- Wear gloves when working outside
BCCC and HEC will continue monitoring the cleanup process. Our chief concern is the potential impact on the health of the community. You can read more details on our website.