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U.S. EPA REGION 5
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY
OSCEOLA

Congressional District # 2

GALEN MYERS DUMP/DRUM SALVAGE

EPA ID# IND980999635
Last Updated: May, 2012

Site Description

The 5-acre Galen Myers Dump/Drum Salvage ("Galen Myers") Superfund site is located in Osceola, St. Joseph County, Indiana.  Drum reclamation activities were conducted at the site from about 1970 to 1983 by the former property owner.  55-gallon steel chemical drums obtained from local industries were stored on-site and were recycled by removing the tops, dumping the contents onto the property, and selling the empty drums as trash containers.

The St. Joseph County Health Department first investigated the Galen Myers site in 1981 in response to nearby residents’ complaints.  The county then requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the site.  During site inspections conducted in 1984, EPA found many leaking and deteriorating drums.

In 1986, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) found site soil and nearby private wells to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  At the time, approximately 17,000 people obtained drinking water from private wells located within three miles of the site.  The St. Joseph River is located approximately one mile from the site.

Site Responsibility

The Galen Myers site is being addressed through state and federal actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Soil and groundwater at the Galen Myers site are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) derived from the drums brought to the site for recycling.  Trichloroethylene (TCE), a chlorinated solvent, is a primary chemical of concern.  Human exposure to TCE at the site could occur through dermal contact with contaminated soil, by drinking contaminated groundwater, or by contact with or ingestion of residual volumes of solvents in the stored drums.  TCE is a human carcinogen and can cause non-carcinogenic health effects as well.

EPA and IDEM have removed stored drums and contaminated soils from the site, thereby preventing exposure through the dermal contact route.  An alternate water supply has been made available to area residents; however, residents who have declined the government-funded public water connections are potentially at risk of consuming or inhaling VOCs from contaminated water.

The St. Joseph County Health Department issued a groundwater protection ordinance that became effective as of January 1999.  The ordinance is designed to prevent people from installing new drinking water wells in areas where VOC-contaminated groundwater is found.

Cleanup Progress

EPA conducted a removal action at the Galen Myers site in 1985 and disposed of 1,800 pounds of flammable solids, non-hazardous drums, and contaminated soils from the site in off-site facilities.

Based on residential well sampling conducted in 1986 and from 1991 to 1993, downgradient residential wells were found to be contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) at levels considered unsafe by EPA. IDEM notified EPA and began a series of discussions regarding the extent of contamination and available alternatives.  In 1994, EPA received authorization from the Mishawaka Utilities to install water line extensions to supply residents with municipal water.

Remedial Investigation (RI) field activities were conducted by IDEM from 1993 to 1995 to define the nature and extent of contamination. A Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was issued in September 1995. The major components of the remedy included excavation of on-site soils contaminated with TCE, monitored natural attenuation (MNA) of groundwater, connection of impacted residents to municipal water, and implementation of a groundwater protection ordinance.

In 1995 and 1996, EPA and IDEM offered municipal water connections to impacted residents. Water-line construction and city water connections for approximately 180 homes were completed as an EPA Removal Action in early 1996. Twenty-three residents declined the connection to municipal water and continue to use their private wells. Three residents have since decided to connect to the municipal water system.

IDEM performed Remedial Design (RD) and Remedial Action (RA) work at the site via a Cooperative Agreement with EPA.  IDEM completed the RD work in 1998. The RD field investigation indicated that no on-site soil excavation was necessary, as had been contemplated in the 1995 ROD. This change was documented in a 1998 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD).

The St. Joseph County Health Department issued a groundwater protection ordinance effective as of January 1999.

Beginning in 1998, IDEM initiated activities to define the groundwater plume and install groundwater monitoring wells for long-term monitoring. These field activities were completed in June 2003, and in December 2003 IDEM released a draft interim remedial action report describing the groundwater remedial action activities. IDEM resumed groundwater monitoring activities in April 2007.

The first five-year review assessing the effectiveness of the selected site remedy was conducted in the fall of 2000. IDEM completed the second five-year review in September 2005, and an addendum to the second five-year review was finalized in October 2007. In 2008, EPA and IDEM finalized a plan to monitor the Institutional Controls at the site, such as the County's groundwater protection ordinance. 

In May 2010, the third five-year review was completed.  EPA and IDEM are continuing to monitor the groundwater contaminant plume are planning to install additional groundwater monitoring wells in the area by late 2012.

Contacts

Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
margaret gielniewski (gielniewski.margaret@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6244

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
mike joyce
(312) 353-5546

Aliases

MEYER'S DUMP
GALEN MEYER'S DUMP/DRUM SAL

 

Site Profile Information

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

 


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