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Pines Ground Water Plume Site

Site Information
Map of boron & molybdenumView larger map
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Susan Pastor (pastor.susan@epa.gov)
312-353-1325 or 800-621-8431, ext. 31325

Remedial Project Manager
Erik Hardin (hardin.erik@epa.gov)
312-886-2402 or 800-621-8431, ext. 62402  

Media/Press Contact
Francisco Acraute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)

IDEM Project Manager
Kevin Herron
Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Indiana State Department of Health
Environmental Public Health Division Director  
Mike Mettler

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
Senior Environmental Health Scientist
Mark Johnson


(where to view written records)

Michigan City Public Library
100 E. 4th St.
Michigan City, IN


The Pines Groundwater Site is located about 4 miles west of Michigan City and about 1 mile south of Lake Michigan in Porter County, Indiana.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tested residential drinking water wells in the Town of Pines In May 2002, based on high levels of the metals boron and molybdenum found in drinking water wells by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The metals appeared to come from coal combustion by-products, or CCBs, composed primarily of fly ash that was disposed of in a nearby landfill called Yard 520. Other areas in the town were also identified as having CCB materials.  Ash, primarily bottom ash, was used as fill in residential yards as well as road surfaces and subsurfaces.  CCBs are the result of burning coal to make electricity.

In 2003 and 2004, Northern Indiana Public Service Company, Brown, Inc., Ddalt Corp., and Bulk Transport, the companies determined to be responsible for the contamination, agreed  to provide municipal water to about 270 homes in and near the Town of Pines. About 70 more homes received bottled water pending the results of an investigation.  The results are summarized in a 2010 document called a remedial investigation report.

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Site Updates

April 2014

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The companies will be testing soil in 40 to 40 yards beginning the week of April 28.  Permission to do so has already been, or will be, obtained from the homeowners. The testing is being done to confirm the different types of ash in yards and rights of way as well as to see if high radiation levels are present. EPA staff overseeing the work expects these tests to involve workers walking around yards with monitoring equipment and some digging with hand tools in a small number of the yards.

EPA and IDEM are reviewing a new version of the feasibility study which the companies submitted in February. It includes several possible groundwater cleanup options. When it is approved, EPA will propose an option and present it to the public for review and comment. EPA hopes a final cleanup decision can be made by early 2015 after all of the public comments are considered.

People In Need of Environmental Services, or PINES, is a local community group that has an EPA technical assistance plan. The group is receiving services such as technical advice and outreach assistance valued at more than $50,000.

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