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Neighbors concerned over years of bad smell prompts action from EPA

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Posted at 6:22 PM, Mar 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-08 18:35:25-05

INDIANAPOLIS — People living on the southwest side of Indianapolis are concerned over a health problem they say has persisted for years and are now worried about the long-lasting impacts.

“It smells different, sometimes it’s a really strong smell,” Vickie McConnell said.

Residents near the Reilly Tar & Chemical Co. Superfund site fear the smell in the area is toxic.

The EPA says the smells matched benzene, pyridines and ammonia, which the agency says can affect human health and the environment.

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“We were afraid because the water is out there and just absorbing all the toxins. I don’t let my dogs out any more than I have to,” Amber Love Foreman said.

In February, the federal government made an agreement with the plant's owner, turning over to them to clean up.

“It has made changes for my quality of life, and I’m worried about my dogs,” Love Foreman added.

The EPA says the facility has caused issues, which they addressed concerns for as recently as a few years ago.

Then they said they were extracting groundwater, discharging, and monitoring it at an off-site, publicly owned treatment works.

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A few years later, the EPA says that groundwater cleanup is still ongoing. It's process that neighbors say is taking too long.

“We need this cleaned up,” Love Foreman concluded.

A public comment period for the proposed consent decree is open for 30 days from February 12 to March 13, 2024.

To submit comments, please email or mail the below contacts: