Work began this week on a long-term project to resolve a long standing water contamination problem on Elkhart's southwest side. It's happening in an area that's been on the EPA's Superfund list since 2008.
“We've heard rumors about where it came from," said Evelyn Doke.
Doke is living on top of what the EPA believes is a large area of contaminated groundwater. It has been more than two decades since a large plume of chlorinated solvents was found in the water of what's now called the Lusher Avenue Superfund site.
“They said the water was contaminated, and we had to cap the wells, so we had to go on city water," Doke said.
Now the EPA is in the process of seeing just how bad the contamination may be. Contractors hired by the EPA are installing 11 monitoring wells.
“The monitoring well will be a deep monitoring well,” Said Tory Irwin, city utilities Engineer. “They will drill all the way down to the bedrock, so it will be pretty deep, and they will use that to sample water at various depths and they will test it for groundwater pollution.”
“The hope is that once all of the monitoring wells are in that the EPA, as well as the city, will get a better handle on the scope of the contamination problem, possible sources, and the best way to deal with it.
“They'll determine what kind of pollution they have, where the plume is moving, the size of the plume, how fast the plume is moving,” Irwin said.
Water samples for those wells will be routinely tested at the public works office.