Jump to main content.


Congressional District # 8


EPA ID# IND006377048
Last Updated: August, 2014

Site Description

The Prestolite Battery site is located in Knox County, Vincennes, Indiana. The Prestolite Battery facility, which occupies approximately 18 acres, operated from 1945 to 1985. In the course of plant operations, lead-containing sludges and waste water were discharged to an onsite sewer system. Leaks and sewer backups resulted in contamination of soils and some sewer lines. Lead dust was also released from the plants ventilation system, contaminating surface soils in the vicinity. Further, accidental spills of process materials added to the onsite soil contamination. The United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Remedial Investigation (RI) found lead soil concentrations as high as 405,000 ppm. and low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), trichloroethylene (TCE), and tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in groundwater samples, collected from onsite monitoring wells and from an offsite residential well. The groundwater plume was fully defined and characterized during the RI and contamination was found to be confined to the shallow aquifer. 

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Air, groundwater, soils, and surface water are contaminated with lead. Soils also are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Soil onsite and in the area has been contaminated with lead, mainly from airborne particles. Malfunctions of equipment onsite and accidental spills also have contributed to the contamination of soils. People who come into direct contact with or accidentally ingest contaminated groundwater, soil, or surface water may suffer adverse health effects. People also may be exposed to contaminants by inhaling dust particles. The site is fenced, limiting exposure by direct contact. 

Cleanup Progress

In spring 1993, Allied-Signal began a removal action which lasted approximately one year and resulted in the removal of approximately 13,000 cubic yards of lead contaminated soil from the site and adjacent properties. In addition, surrounding residential wells were closed and residents were hooked up to the municipal water supply. A Record of Decision was signed in August, 1994, which allows natural attenuation to reduce the contaminant concentrations in the groundwater to established cleanup levels. Deed restrictions will prohibit any future wells from being drilled into the contaminated shallow groundwater. In addition, an extensive monitoring system will be installed to evaluate progress of groundwater natural attentuation and to identify any changing conditions in the nearby wetlands should they occur as a result of no active remediation. The installation of this monitoring system involves replacement of monitoring wells, and this activity was negotiated under a Consent Decree that was entered August 8, 1997. Installation of the monitoring well system was completed in October 1998. 

In November, 1996, EPA secured a Prospective Purchaser Agreement with a Vincennes area developer to begin razing the existing onsite building and to redevelop the property to productive land use. The redevelopment efforts are currently underway.  A five-year review report was completed in September 2001.  The review found that a final protectiveness statement could not be made until several issues were further investigated.  Sampling of fish and crayfish in the Northwest Pond adjacent to the site was performed to determine if there were any human health or ecological risks.  Also, further investigation was performed on an auto garage property adjacent to the site concluding that clean-up would be necessary on that property.  These issues were addressed in the second five-year review report which was completed in September, 2006. 

On September 28 and 29, 2010, consultants, on behalf of Honeywell, conducted a vapor intrusion evaluation at two properties adjacent to the Site. The consultants collected indoor air and subslab samples at one of these residences and indoor air and crawl space air samples at the other property. Outdoor ambient air samples were collected up-wind and downwind of the two properties. Surveys were performed at each residence to identify potential indoor air VOC sources. Some possible VOC sources were identified at one of these residences. The sample results suggested the presence of TCE and PCE in the samples; however, it was also noted that the residences contained potential VOC household solvents which could impact the sampling results. The EPA's vapor intrusion expert reviewed the vapor intrusion study and noted that the vapor intrusion pathway requires multiple lines of evidence from the groundwater (or the source) through deep soil gas, through the subslab, or the crawl space into indoor air. Upon review, EPA's vapor intrusion expert concluded that because TCE was not detected in the subslab sample or in the outdoor air samples, the vapor intrusion pathway is incomplete or present at a de minimis risk. The consultant, on behalf of Honeywell, will subsequently submitted a work plan to resample these residences in 2012 and reassess these results. In June 2013, the draft 2012 Vapor Intrusion Evaluation Report was submitted to U.S. EPA for review. The report was reviewed by the U.S. EPA vapor intrusion expert and it was concluded that there was currently no evidence to support a complete vapor intrusion pathway for the two residences investigated.

Property Reuse

A Prospective Purchaser Agreement was signed by EPA and a local developer to facilitate redevelopment of the site.  A Lowe's Hardware superstore and two restaturants have been built on the site.  These businesses supply over 200 jobs and create about $230,000 in increased tax revenue for the county alone.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
lolita hill (hill.lolita@epa.gov)
(312) 353-1621

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
janet pope
(312) 353-0628




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


Local Navigation

Jump to main content.