The Northern Indiana Utility Company (NIPSCO) will clean up soil contamination in individual residences at the Town of Pines Groundwater Plume Superfund site in Porter County, Indiana at an estimated cost of $11.8 million to resolve federal and state liability for the Superfund. The complaint, filed concurrently with the consent decree, alleges that the company is responsible for cleaning up coal ash from its electrical generating facility that it distributed as landscaping fill in the town of Pines and surroundings. Soils contaminated with coal ash contain hazardous substances such as arsenic, thallium and lead.
“Today’s settlement requires NIPSCO to address the contamination it contributed to the Town of Pines Superfund site,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. of Justice. “This settlement is a critical step towards remediating the site and will minimize risk to owners of contaminated properties and to the environment.”
“This settlement requires NIPSCO to remove coal ash contaminated soil from the utility’s electrical generating facility and to monitor groundwater in and around the City of Pines, Indiana,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Deputy Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “These cleanups will help protect residents from exposure to arsenic and other hazardous substances.”
“This settlement will help protect the environment and the health of the people of Northwest Indiana by cleaning coal ash from residential properties,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Removing contaminated soil and monitoring groundwater at the Town of Pines site is a vital part of this agreement with NIPSCO.
“Hoosiers will benefit from NIPSCO’s commitment to reimbursing taxpayers for the taxpayers’ dollars spent during this lengthy process,” Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita said. “They will also benefit from the company’s commitment to complete the cleanup of the town of Pines necessitated by the disposal of its coal ash in residential areas. We must always work to protect Hoosiers and uphold the rule of law.
“By entering into this settlement with the EPA and the State, NIPSCO will complete the process of cleaning up and restoring residential sites impacted by coal ash disposal in the City of Pines, and will ensure the security of drinking water by monitoring both well water and groundwater consumption for potential contamination caused by disposal,” said Commissioner Brian Rockensuess of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The consent decree requires NIPSCO to identify residential soil contamination above cleanup levels from its coal ash disposal, excavate the contaminated soil, and transport the excavated contaminated soil to an approved waste disposal facility. NIPSCO is also required to restore excavated properties with clean backfill, put restrictions in place on excavated properties if necessary to prevent exposure to any remaining contamination that may be left at depth, and monitor residential drinking water wells, groundwater monitoring wells, surface water and sediment to ensure contamination has not migrated to these locations. The company will also reimburse the EPA for a significant percentage of its past costs and pay all future costs incurred by the EPA and the State of Indiana to oversee the cleanup.
More information about this settlement can be found at https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0508071.
The consent decree, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The decree of consent will be available for consultation at https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.