Any work on the Brickyard parcel will have to wait at least one year, Porter
Town Council president Greg Stinson announced Tuesday.
That’s because the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is
standing firm on its request that the town install monitoring wells in
several locations at the Brickyard to sample groundwater there for four
IDEM project manager Aunna Huber communicated the agency’s decision in a
Feb. 8 letter to the town. She said the 12-month monitoring results will be
more accurate and more reliable than “grab” samplings from temporary wells.
The Porter Redevelopment Commission in 2009 bought the Brickyard parcel as a
future residential/commercial extension of Porter’s downtown.
Weaver Boos consultants, retained by the RDC to study the environmental
status of the Brickyard, last year told IDEM there was no need for permanent
groundwater monitoring wells although the firm did agree additional site
testing should be done.
Soil and water testing done in 2009 and 2011 showed contamination, likely
from an historic former brick-making operation and rail spur on the southern
portion of the Brickyard parcel, which is located at the southwest corner of
Beam Street and Sexton Avenue.
The RDC paid $350,000 for the Brickyard and was courting developers of
senior-living facilities to complement the single-family, townhome and
neighborhood-commercial uses tentatively planned there when IDEM became
aware that the initial environmental testing had raised questions that
According to IDEM, last year Weaver Boos maintained future Brickyard uses
are unknown since current economic conditions make it difficult to predict
how the land will be redeveloped. If that’s the case, said Huber, IDEM can’t
assess potential risks arising from unknown activities/land uses so the
tougher residential standards should apply to the property.
The Brickyard contains approximately 32 acres in two parcels, the smaller
western one eyed for a future Porter fire station and municipal uses. The
area under IDEM review is the forested 24-acre portion northwest of Sexton
Avenue and Lincoln Street.
Because clay was dug out there to make turn-of-the-century bricks, the
elevation drops considerably on the site in some areas. Huber said, “(I)t
must be demonstrated that planned grade modifications result in surface soil
contaminant levels that are protective of human health for the intended use
of a given area.”
IDEM wants the town to submit within 60 days the additional risk-assessment
information and schedule the agency seeks. The current RDC will discuss the
matter at its Feb. 28 meeting.
Stinson said a copy of IDEM’s Feb. 8 letter is available for inspection at
the town hall and also will be made available by week’s end at the
Redevelopment Commission link on the Town of Porter website.