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Zionsville Superfund site consultant offers help in Franklin

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A man who worked as an environmental consultant on a federal Superfund site near Zionsville in the 1980s is offering his services to help with an investigation into toxins in Franklin.

In November, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that dangerous toxins had not been contained inside a long-closed industrial site in Franklin. 

That news likely sounds familiar to people in Boone County.

Almost four decades since the EPA closed down Envirochem for dumping industrial solvents at the Northside Sanitary Landfill north of Zionsville, the EPA is still on site, and the cleanup is nowhere near finished.

John Mundell, an environmental consultant who worked on the Envirochem​​​​​ site in the 1980s, has offered his services in Franklin.

“One of the problems with that particular site (Envirochem) is it took years and years to take the time to investigate and find where some of the source areas are, so most of the activity has been on monitoring the site to make sure it is safe and doing some groundwater removal and treatment,” said Mundell.

On Monday, a tattered and worn sign warned everyone entering the landfill in Zionsville that it is a federal Superfund site. Just last week, the EPA was on site doing another assessment of the contamination.

After 37 years, the ground inside the fenced area is still considered contaminated and not suitable for development.

Over the years, the EPA has moved dirt and poured concrete to make the area safe. So far nothing has really worked well. Now the EPA is using a series of wires and pipes to send electrical impulses through the soil to free up contaminates.

Mundell has not been involved with progress at the Envirochem site for years, but he said it was a reminder that Marion County has dozens of contaminated sites.

“We have a whole suite of type of sites that are undergoing investigation and cleanup. People can talk about what’s wrong with the EPA or the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, but oftentimes it is the resources: the resources to pay for staff, the resources to look at sites, to follow up, to make sure things are getting done,” said Mundell.

The one resource that can speed up the cleanup is money. For people in Franklin, like those in Zionsville for the last 37 years, there is not any easy fix.