Federal, State Environmental Workers Say Progress Being Made In Franklin

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Federal, State Environmental Workers Say Progress Being Made In Franklin

IDEM and the EPA have been working to clean up toxic TCE chemicals from the ground in Franklin.

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Federal and state environmental workers say they are making progress on cleaning up contaminated soil in Franklin.

Over the last year, two plumes of toxic TCE chemicals have been discovered in the air and water in Franklin. TCE, which is an outdated chemical solvent that was used by manufacturers decades ago, has been linked to common cancers. 

One of the plumes originates from where the Amphenol plant used to sit. That area has been under the control of the EPA over the last few months and the agency said at a public meeting on Tuesday night that area has been almost completely cleaned up.

"It’s safe now," said Joe Cisneros, the chief of the Corrective Action Program with the EPA to WISH-TV. "The only way to get exposure is if the people would have a well in the shallow aquifer and be drinking from it."

The other plume was discovered in the last week. It's coming from the old Hougland Cannery in Franklin, less than a mile from the Amphenol site. That site is under the control of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

IDEM is still figuring out the logistics of getting that site cleaned up, but the department's lead project coordinator, Kevin Davis, said the cost the clean up is of no concern to IDEM.

"I am not to look at costs, I am to look at effectiveness," said Davis. "Is it getting the job done? My job is not to be an accountant for the party that's responsible."

Davis predicts they will be able to start cleaning up the Hougland site by the start of next Spring.

Some residents who attended the meeting got to get up close and personal with the information presented by both agencies. Tricia Simmons, who is a cancer survivor, isn't holding a lot of confidence they will get the job done.

"No, I'm not confident," Simmons said. "I'm confident that they're trying and they are trying to make the right decisions, but my daughter has asked me several times if we would move. We’re just wanting answers like everybody else."

Simmons said she has no plans at the moment to move out of Franklin. 

IDEM is reviewing its latest batch of groundwater tests right now form the Hougland site and plans to have a full report on those findings out by some time next week.

(PHOTO: WISH-TV)

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