Air, groundwater tests in Franklin detect cancer-causing chemicals

New test results confirm that groundwater and sewer vapors in Franklin have cancer-causing chemicals at levels that exceed the Indiana environmental agency's safe limits.

Environmental firm EnviroForensics found high levels of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene in Franklin, The Indianapolis Star reported.

TCE and PCE are found in household items, such as cleaning solutions, but can have harmful health impacts in high concentrations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told city officials that it's monitoring the site formerly used by Amphenol, an electronics manufacturer. Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said the city hired the consulting firm to test if chemicals were leaving the site.

"We're all trying to get the same answers and get to the bottoms of things," he said. "I told them they need to come prove to me that everything is fine, and I won't be convinced until they've done all the testing possible and show me the results."

EnviroForensics Chief Executive Steve Henshaw said the tests results show that pollution wasn't confined. "Clearly they have not fully remediated or cleaned up the source," he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its contamination testing area near the manufacturing facility, The Daily Journal reported. The federal government has also begun installing air filtering systems in some residences.

Henshaw said the property's technology is dated and ineffective.

"This is a classic example of a site that is put on autopilot and seems to have fallen through the cracks," he said. "As a result, follow-up work wasn't being checked and they assumed the clean-up was working and it wasn't."

The EPA said the methods chosen for the site in the 1990s were "considered at that time to be appropriate" and it's typical for the agency to revisit remedies at older sites.

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