Trace levels of toxin found at 2 Franklin schools; more testing ahead

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – Recent soil samplings at two elementary schools found trace levels of toxic chemicals, the school district announced Tuesday night on its webpage.

As a result, more testing will be done, although the district expects the elementaries to open as planned for the new school year. Both schools are on the city’s east side near Hillview Country Club. 

Also, recent air samplings did not detect any volatile organic compounds, the district said. EnviroForensics did the testing around Needham and Webb elementary schools last week

Levels of trichloroethylene were well below levels established as significant by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In June, tests of 14 nearby homes set off alarm bells, with nearly half with dangerous levels of radon, which can cause lung cancer, and one with 18 times the acceptable level of trichloroethylene, which can cause kidney cancer. 

The homes and schools are near the former Amphenol Corp. site, a 15-acre property the Edison Wetlands Association said released toxic chemicals for decades. The site was used for manufacturing electrical parts from the 1960s into the 1980s. 

Although the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is not requiring additional sampling, the school district said it began “sub-slab sampling” Tuesday.

Schools are set to open for the new year Aug. 8 in Franklin. Superintendent David Clendening said, barring unexpected results from the sub-slab sampling, he expected students to return to the schools this year.

Results of the latest sampling will be presented at a community forum on Aug. 3. The district’s latest sampling results are posted on its website.