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Roanoke Town Council to address contaminated site

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

The Roanoke Town Council is planning for an $800,000 project to cleanup environmental contaminants, left by a manufacturing company 30 years ago, before it costs the town more if they wait.

Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management is requiring the town to close the last of two wastewater retention ponds that are contaminated with cadmium, according to council President David Tucker. He said the contaminated sludge ponds are remnants of an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site where C&M Plating used to be. A Superfund site is a federally funded cleanup effort to diminish the effects of heavy pollution caused by improperly managed sites.

“They dumped a lot of stuff down the drain,” Tucker said. “We had a Superfund to clean up the actual site, but they didn’t consider the sewage end of it.”

Now, the town must pay to clean up the wastewater side of the issue.

Tucker said the town has been saving up money since they cleaned and sealed the first sludge pond. Until the second pond is completely closed, Tucker said they will have to spend thousands on monitoring the site. Now that they have some money available, they want to take care of the issue.

“We’ve learned over the years that we’ve spent just as much monitoring this one as we will with hauling it off, but (once it’s removed) it will be off site and no more testing or anything will need to be done,” he said.

Tucker said there is a possibility the project will cause the town to raise rates, and that is why they decided to discuss the issue at their June 6. They discussed increasing rates by 3 percent.

“If you’re talking 3 percent, you’re talking a buck and a half or $2 a month (increase), if we go that route,” Tucker said. “So it’s nothing huge, you know. It is what it is. We may be able pull it off without it.”

IDEM mandates that the town suck all the water from the pond and treat the water before it is dumped in the river. Then, they have to let it dry before adding lime and other additives to neutralize the cadmium and other heavy metals. They they will have to dig the sludge up and haul it off.

IDEM will inspect the site on June 14, and Tucker said he hopes IDEM will allow the town to take care of the issue in a more feasible way.