EPA selects $11.92 million cleanup plan at the Pike & Mulberry Superfund site in Martinsville, Indiana
Project will address contamination in groundwater and soil vapor
CHICAGO (March 12, 2021) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $11.92 million cleanup plan for the Pike & Mulberry Streets PCE Plume Superfund site in Martinsville, Indiana. EPA’s cleanup plan will address the soil and groundwater contamination caused by industrial and dry-cleaning chemicals, which were illegally dumped and mishandled in the late 1980s.
"EPA listened to concerned residents to determine which cleanup plan to use," said EPA Region 5 Acting Administrator Cheryl Newton. "Community input is an important part of any Superfund cleanup and we support and appreciate when residents engage, get involved and provide feedback."
EPA’s cleanup plan will address tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, contamination in the groundwater as well as PCE and trichloroethylene, or TCE, gases in the soil (soil vapor). EPA’s preferred cleanup plan had been in situ chemical oxidation, an environmental remediation technique to reduce contaminants. However, EPA took into consideration the community’s preference to use a different technique called in situ chemical reduction. In situ chemical reduction will destroy the site’s current contamination by injecting materials, such as a type of iron or carbon sources, into the groundwater plume. These materials will create conditions that break down the contamination.
EPA became involved at the site after hazardous substances were discovered from the former Master Wear facility, an industrial dry cleaner that used PCE for laundering and dry cleaning and operated from January 1986 to November 1991. Between 1987 and 1991, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management received multiple complaints of illegal dumping and mishandling of waste drums at the facility. Several spills and releases were also reported. EPA believes other facilities that historically operated in the area, including several dry cleaners, likely contributed to contamination at the site as well.
PCE is frequently used in dry cleaning, and TCE is a commonly used industrial solvent. Both chemicals dissolve in water but can stay in groundwater for a long time. PCE and TCE can also evaporate, and those vapors can work their way from underground through the soil and then possibly accumulate in indoor air of nearby homes and businesses. This is known as vapor intrusion. The selected cleanup plan also includes treatment of soil that serves as a source for vapor intrusion and mitigation of vapors in occupied buildings.
In 2013, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List, a list of the most contaminated sites in the nation. In 2014, EPA started a cleanup investigation that involved several phases of groundwater and soil vapor sampling to determine the nature and extent of the contamination. The selected cleanup plan will address the potential current and future risks to public health posed by exposure via drinking, or contact with, groundwater or inhalation of soil vapor, for residents and commercial, construction, or industrial workers.
EPA will hold a virtual Zoom meeting on March 24 from 6-8:30 p.m. EDT to assist in the formation of a community advisory group for this site. The group will serve as a public forum for all interested parties to learn about site cleanup, present and discuss their needs and concerns, and develop community-based recommendations. To participate, contact Kirstin Safakas, community involvement coordinator, at email@example.com or 312-919-4621, or register at: https://cbuilding.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_toRCwH4MTTif2zMM31_mCA.
For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/pike-mulberry-pce.