TOWN OF PINES, Ind.
(AP) - Seven yards in the tiny Lake Michigan community of Town of Pines are
contaminated with elevated levels of arsenic but do not pose an immediate
threat, a spokesman for a northern Indiana power company said Wednesday.
The toxic heavy
metal’s source is a landfill holding fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal at
power plants operated by Northern Indiana Public Service Co., company
spokesman Nick Meyer said.
representatives and officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
went door-to-door Tuesday informing residents of the town of about 700
residents some 20 miles east of Gary of the elevated arsenic levels in their
yards’ soils. They also planned to address the town council Wednesday night.
Meyer stressed the
EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, another
federal agency, said the arsenic does not pose an immediate public health
“All of the arsenic
is limited to soils,” he told The (Munster) Times. “This is not a ground
arsenic levels were discovered last week as part of follow-up sampling from
an earlier fly ash issue.
The EPA determined
in 2000 that NIPSCO, Brown, Inc., Ddalt Corp. and Bulk Transport Corp. were
the potentially responsible parties for contamination of groundwater in The
Pines from a landfill near U.S. 20 that holds more than 1 million tons of
That landfill was
deemed a Superfund site in 2000. As part of a consent decree reached between
the EPA and NIPSCO, municipal drinking water connections via adjacent
Michigan City’s system were established and bottled water was provided for
In late 2014,
NIPSCO, EPA and members of The Pines Group - a grassroots citizens group
dedicated to addressing the fly ash issues - identified nine properties for
sampling to cross-reference with previous samples taken when NIPSCO
installed a municipal water system there.
Meyer said that
when the initial samples were taken nearly a decade ago, no elevated levels
of arsenic were found.
He said 36 other
properties that have been identified as possibly containing fly ash will
also be tested now, along with the latest nine sampled.
Plans are under way
on how to remediate the contaminated soils, Meyer said.