Associated Press, October 6, 2006
LOWELL, Ind. – A family evacuated their home near a closed landfill this week after finding a chemical seeped into their well, but town officials say residents are at low risk for contamination.
A man, his wife and a 9-month-old daughter left their home in front of the Indiana 2 landfill Wednesday after arsenic was found to have seeped into their well.
“Thankfully they had been suspicious prior and had been drinking bottled water,” said Jeff Langbehn, executive director for the Lake County Solid Waste Management District, which recently ordered tests of the 40-acre property.
Not all nearby families need to drink only bottled water, he said, adding that the greatest danger is to anyone who trespasses onto the Feddeler Landfill property, between U.S. 41 and Lowell in southern Lake County.
Tests of the 39-acre landfill have found gasses, including hydrogen cyanide and methane, seeping from the ground, authorities have said.
To protect the public, Lake County police have stationed guards at the access point to the landfill. A 6-foot chain link fence was being installed Friday and should be finished by early next week.
Over the next 60 days, more tests will be conducted and the task force will investigate any illegal dumping of chemicals, Langbehn said.
Bruce Palin, assistant commissioner for IDEM’s Office of Land Quality, said a 2-foot thick clay cap should have been placed over the entire dump to prevent chemicals from seeping out of the area. The dump closed in 2003.