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EPA in Indiana

Amphenol/Franklin Power Products in Franklin, Ind.

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Snapshots


May 22, 2020

Street Restoration

Mulching and seeding the street and right-of-way and some lawns was completed the week of May 11, 2020.

On-Site Soil Sampling

Sampling soil on the former Amphenol property and adjacent private property began May 18, 2020. The work is anticipated to be completed by May 30, 2020. The sampling results will provide information on how to clean up contaminated soil that may be contributing to the on-site contaminated groundwater plume. Some samplingwil l be performed using specialized equipment, a “membrane interface probe,” that will be driven to the site by a subcontractor from Oregon.

April 29, 2020 


COVID-19 Pandemic and EPA’s Approach to Making Decisions on Site Work

As we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 situation, EPA is taking the necessary steps to ensure that decisions about ongoing cleanup activities at sites are made considering the health and safety of communities, EPA staff, state and tribal partners, and contractors as the priority.

Decisions about continuing on-site activities are being made on a case-by-case basis. We are working closely with our local, state and tribal partners to evaluate options for continuing site work or securing sites, especially in areas where local health declarations are in effect due to COVID-19.

Street Restoration

In April 2020, Amphenol repaved the streets and driveways that were impacted during construction of the soil and sewer remedy completed last December. Mulching and seeding the street and right-of-way and some lawns is expected to be completed in early May, depending on weather conditions.

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s March 2020 Executive Order listed “Essential Infrastructure” work among the exceptions to his COVID-19 sheltering order.Infrastructure includes road construction and public works projects. EPA is deferring to our state partners’ health-based directives and Executive Orders during decisions about clean-up work.

Upcoming Sampling

During the sampling work described below, crews will follow recommended guidelines from the CDC and the Indiana State Health Department for preventing the spread of COVID-19.  The ISDH web page includes information about the Indiana Executive Order.  Please direct any questions about COVID-19 to the ISDH using the instructions on its web page.

On-Site Soil Sampling

Sampling soil on the former Amphenol property and adjacent private property is scheduled to begin May 18, 2020. The work is anticipated to be completed by May 30, 2020. The sampling results will provide information on how to clean up contaminated soil that may be contributing to the on-site contaminated groundwater plume. Some sampling will be performed using specialized equipment that will be driven to the site by a subcontractor from Oregon.

Residential Sewer Line VOC Vapor Sampling

Amphenol will be resampling residential outdoor sewer line cleanouts to investigate whether the changes to the groundwater treatment system cleared up the VOC vapors that showed up in routine sampling of homes last winter.  The sampling will be completed by early May 2020.

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April 8, 2020 
 

COVID-19 Pandemic and EPA’s Approach to Making Decisions on Site Work

As we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 situation, EPA is taking the necessary steps to ensure that decisions about ongoing cleanup activities at sites are made considering the health and safety of communities, EPA staff, state and tribal partners, and contractors as the priority.

Decisions about continuing on-site activities are being made on a case-by-case basis. We are working closely with our local and state partners to evaluate options for continuing site work or securing sites, especially in areas where local health declarations are in effect due to COVID-19. 

Street Restoration Following the Soil and Sewer Remedy

Last December, when the soil and sewer remedy was wrapped up, the weather was too cold to place the final layer of asphalt on the neighborhood streets that were disturbed by the excavation work.  The replacement of grass in the street rights-of-way also needed warmer weather.  Restoration work is planned to begin April 13, 2020. 

Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s March 2020 Executive Order listed “Essential Infrastructure” work among the exceptions to his COVID-19 sheltering order.  Infrastructure includes road construction and public works projects.  EPA is deferring to our state partners’ health-based directives and Executive Orders during decisions about clean-up work.

During the upcoming street restoration work, construction crews will follow recommended guidelines from the CDC and the Indiana State Health Department  for preventing the spread of COVID-19.  The ISDH web page includes information about the Indiana Executive Order.  Please direct any questions about COVID-19 to the ISDH using the instructions on its web page.

Schedule

The upcoming work on North Forsythe St. and Hamilton Ave. includes grinding up asphalt, installing the final asphalt topcoat, finishing the sewer manhole reconstruction, and driveway and lawn restoration.  Weather permitting, the work will proceed as follows (a representative from CrossRoad Engineers will contact residents about the work near each home via email, phone, door hangars and potentially at their door):

  • Monday 4/13/20:  Closure of roads to through traffic within the project area (residents will likely only be prevented from leaving and entering their driveways for around 20 minutes at a time)
  • Tuesday 4/14/2020:  Grind up asphalt on Forsythe St. between Ross Ct. and Hurricane Creek  
  • Wednesday/Thursday (4/15 and 4./16, 2020)-20):  Start paving the roads and any driveways that need an asphalt topcoat
  • Thursday/Friday (4-16 and 4-17, 2020):  Begin re-setting the sewer manholes, grading and placing topsoil in yards and public ROW
  • ​Week of 4-20-20: Complete the sewer manhole work and and finish grading and seeding activities

On-Site Soil Sampling

The on-site soil sampling that was scheduled to begin March 23, 2020 was postponed. The soil sampling will be performed to design an on-site soil contamination remedy. There are no immediate threats to human health or the environment related to the on-site soil.    

The suspension of work is a temporary measure as we adjust to the ongoing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be reassessing this decision periodically and are prepared to approve the resumption of this work when it can move forward safely. 

Additional Vapor Sources

Between January and March 2020, residential vapor intrusion sampling results reported elevated levels of VOC vapors in the pipes connecting indoor plumbing systems to sanitary sewers. The indoor air of homes was not impacted.  Work has been completed at the on-site groundwater treatment system, the presumed source of the vapors, to prevent vapors from entering the sanitary sewer system.  Samples taken in the sewers downstream of the groundwater treatment system on the former Amphenol property demonstrate that the vapors have been cleared from the sewer lines. The resampling of homes with outdoor sewer cleanouts to confirm that the sewer vapor problem was resolved has been suspended.

The suspension of the sewer lateral sampling is a temporary measure as we adjust to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. We will be reassessing this decision periodically and are prepared to approve the resumption of this work when it can move forward safely.

Groundwater Pilot Study

EPA is reviewing groundwater sampling data from the groundwater clean-up pilot study. A pilot study is a small-scale test of a method that could be used in a larger area. Groundwater samples collected from November 2019 through April 2020 show that the groundwater contamination is decreasing. The cleanup method approach being tested looks promising.

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Progress Summaries

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Background

Franklin Power Products, Inc. and Amphenol Corp. conducted an environmental investigation and cleanup at their former Franklin, Ind. industrial facility under two Administrative Consent Orders issued by EPA’s RCRA Corrective Action program in 1990 and 1998.

EPA determined that a former owner and operator, Bendix Corp., released volitile organic compounds and other chemicals into the environment, including into on-site sewers which transported the contamination outside the property boundaries to the neighborhood south of the facility, prior to 1983.

The EPA’s orders required Franklin Power Products and Amphenol to investigate the releases of VOCs, including known carcinogens, to determine what was released and where it may have travelled, and to determine the potential health risks and environmental effects of the contamination. A sewer line found to be contaminated was replaced and contaminated soil was removed from a source area on-site. EPA also required the companies to construct and operate clean-up measures, including a groundwater pump-and-treat system, which has been in operation since 1995. EPA continues to oversee performance of this cleanup.

Webb Well Field, an Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) State Cleanup Program site, is located about ¾-mile north of the Amphenol site. Both sites are in Johnson County. Two of three supply wells in the former municipal water well field were found to be contaminated with volatile organic compounds; these were taken off-line by 2007.  The third supply well was decommissioned in 2013.  In 2007, Amphenol investigated possible migration of VOC-contaminated groundwater from its site to the Webb Well Field. Amphenol provided a groundwater particle tracking study to EPA to demonstrate that the VOC contamination found in the two impacted supply wells did not come from its facility. EPA determined that the evidence supported their position.  For information, see IDEM web pageExit

In July, 2018 Edison Wetlands Association and the “If It Was Your Child” organization raised concerns to EPA and IDEM about volatile organic compounds seeping into homes near the Amphenol/Franklin Power Products and Webb Well Field sites in Franklin. EPA will require that Amphenol Corp. investigate groundwater conditions and complete a comprehensive investigation of “vapor Intrusion” in the residential area near the site. EPA will oversee the investigation. EPA is coordinating closely with the State of Indiana and federal agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and will follow up with the community as more information becomes available.

Edison Wetlands Association also raised concerns about the potential for intrusion of radon gas at homes in Franklin. Radon is naturally occurring. Exposure to radon can result in adverse health effects. Residents can hire an Indiana-licensed professional to test their homes for radon and install a mitigation system if needed. For more information:

EPA joined Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Indiana Department of Public Health and the federal agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at an Aug. 3 2018 public meeting in Franklin, Ind.

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Vapor Intrusion Updates

Nov. 27, 2018

Vapor intrusion (VI) occurs when vapor-forming chemicals from an underground source move into a building.  A VI investigation follows a potential path of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from the source of the chemical (for example, a spill or release to the ground) to potential exposure indoors.  VOCs often migrate in groundwater and can also travel along a pathway such as a sewer or utility trench.

Under EPA oversight, Amphenol Corp. is completing a vapor intrusion (VI) investigation in the neighborhood south of the former Amphenol facility.  See the aerial view of the off-site vapor intrusion study area.

The VI investigation is based on historical data that show migration of VOCs from the former Franklin Power Products/Amphenol Corporation Site into the residential area through groundwater and sewer lines.  The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether remaining contamination reaches the indoor air of homes and poses risk to occupants.

The VI investigation at Amphenol includes sampling VOC sewer gas, sewer backfill (bedding) gas, groundwater, and indoor air of homes.  To speed up the investigation, soil gas was sampled along streets within the city of Franklin rights of way (ROWs).  Where soil gas was elevated above vapor intrusion screening levels in the ROW, the nearby homes were put on the list for indoor air sampling (priority homes list).  30 sewer manholes were sampled in the study area to determine if VOC contamination was present at elevated levels.  VOCs were elevated along Forsythe Street and parts of Hamilton Ave. Where sewer gas was elevated above safe indoor air levels, the nearby homes were added to the priority homes list. Where groundwater was elevated above vapor intrusion screening levels, nearby homes were added to the priority homes list.

For the results of the VI investigation, see Groundwater Documents and Maps, Sewer Gas Documents and Maps and Soil Gas Documents and Maps.

Per the investigation steps, where groundwater, soil gas, and sewer line samples exceed applicable screening levels, the investigation proceeds to sampling beneath and/or within nearby homes.  As of November 27, 2018, 37 homes are on the “priority homes” list for indoor air sampling.  Results of vapor intrusion indoor air sampling are private and shared with the residents.

Based on evaluation of the data from this investigation, the study area may be expanded.

  • The week of September 16, 2018, two or more additional priority homes will be sampled for sub-slab soil gas, sewer gas, indoor air, and ambient air.  
  • On September 13, 2018, Amphenol began sewer gas sampling in the study area following the EPA approval of its Sewer Gas Vapor Intrusion Investigation Work Plan, Franklin Power Products, Inc./Amphenol Corporation, dated September 10, 2018.
  • The week of September 9, 2018, Amphenol began preparing for the sewer gas sampling in coordination with EPA.
  • The week of September 9, 2018, residents in the Study Area received “door hangers” alerting them to sampling activity in the neighborhood.
  • On September 4, 2018, Amphenol began sampling soil gas, ambient air, and indoor air at the first of approximately nine priority homes near the facility.  Home sampling is contingent upon access agreements with homeowners and residents. 
  • On August 30, 2018, EPA asked Amphenol Corp. to submit a work plan describing the VI investigation approach. With EPA concurrence, Amphenol has been submitting separate work plans for the different sampling components, to expedite the investigation.

Sewer Vapor Migration Pathway

Elevated VOC vapors have been found in manholes in the sanitary sewer lines along streets in the Amphenol Study Area.  Sewer vapors can travel from the sewer lines into homes via the pipes that connect a home’s sewer system to the main sewer line.  The connection pipes are called “sewer laterals.”   All homes near sewer lines contaminated with VOC vapors were added to the list of homes needing indoor air sampling for contaminants, including VOC vapor in the sewer lateral.

Where vapors are elevated in the sewer laterals, Amphenol performs pressure tests in the associated homes to determine whether the plumbing system is sealed.  Amphenol looks for leaks by pumping a  vapor mist with a citrus aroma into the pipe.  If mist or citrus aroma odor is observed, then Amphenol uses a plumbing contractor to repair the  fixture. Here are examples of some of the issues found and repairs made to correct vapor leaks in the plumbing system: 

  • Old water softener lines that were not sealed when disconnected and replaced were capped.
  • Sewer line exhaust that vented inside an attic was rerouted to vent outside the home.
  • Vapor leaks observed around toilet flanges were replaced and the toilets reset.
  • A portion of the main sewer line under a home was an entry point for a bathtub drain.  The sewer lateral was cracked and no longer vapor-tight.  The cracked pipe was removed and replaced with a new PVC fitting. 
  • Leaking sanitary lines were sealed at the slab entry point and other joints.
  • Vapor leaks observed in unused toilets/shower drains with dry P-traps were sealed with an expandable plug.
  • Plumbing vents beneath sinks and at other interior locations were sealed.
  • A sewer lateral was relocated, and an exterior sewer cleanout installed to adequately pressurize the plumbing system.
  • Sump pits were sealed with an appropriate sump lid.
  • One-way specialized plugs in floor drains were installed to allow water to drain and prevent vapors from entering.
  • Unfinished walls were sealed where an interior room was in direct communication with a crawlspace.

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Air Sampling Updates

  • On August 3, 2018 Amphenol installed a filter (vapor carbon system) on the emissions pipe to virtually eliminate its VOC emissions.
  • Under supervision by EPA and IDEM, Amphenol collected 8-hour ambient (outdoor) air samples from six locations around the boundary of its site on July 26, 2018. A laboratory analyzed the samples and an independent data validation company has checked the results.  These samples were analyzed for the nine volatile organic compound (VOC) chemicals associated with the historic releases from the former Amphenol site.  Results at the fence line indicated that outdoor air concentrations of VOCs are below EPA’s health-based screening levels for residential exposure.
  • The emissions pipe at the groundwater recovery air stripping system was also sampled. Emissions were measured at a rate of approximately 8 pounds total VOCs per year. To put this in perspective, IDEM would issue an air permit for this system only if the air emissions reached at least 2,000 pounds per year.

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Documents

Current

Historical

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