IDEM To Test Soil For Lead At Former Kosciusko County Industrial Site

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 24, 2012 Updated Apr 24, 2012 at 5:49 PM EDT

SILVER LAKE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- The Indiana Department of Environmental Management now says it will test for the presence of lead at a former industrial site in Kosciusko County.

The property at 9136 State Road 15 is north of Silver Lake.

The testing will determine if there is any public health risk.

It’s noteworthy, because many local residents know virtually nothing about the issue.

Jeff Neumeyer: " Metzger Trucking right now owns the property.

In the early 1980’s, a firm tied to lead recycling, called Pb Company, was in business there.

USA Today in April, published an investigative report, detailing that hundreds of abandoned lead smelting factories nationwide deposited hazardous lead dust into the soil.

In some cases, the report indicated the EPA knew about the sites and didn't warn neighbors, but that in other instances, the government had no idea the factories ever existed.

The Silver Lake City Clerk's office had no information about the Pb Company, but IDEM has since discovered, from 1980 to 1983, 140 cubic yards of waste were trucked from the site to the Four County Landfill Superfund site in Fulton County.

Pb Company was linked to recycling lead from batteries.

IDEM is now announcing it will do soil testing at the former Pb Company site, and on farmhouse properties nearby.

Amy Hartsock/IDEM: " Now we're poised to do an assessment and see what, if any, concerns there are. We do not think, based on all the information we have so far, that this site will present any kind of a significant health impact, but we do want to make sure."

Neumeyer: " Shane Wilson, who works next door to the site, thinks the testing is a good idea as a precaution.

Shane Wilson/Works Next Door: " I'm glad they're finally bringing it to their attention, so, that's good."

Neumeyer: " Kosciusko County Commissioner Bob Conley says he spoke to both the current and former property owners, and he's been assured that in the 1980's, it was a laboratory that developed products for Pb Company, and that it did not serve as a factory of any kind. Conley was told the waste hauled away was foundry sand from an operation before Pb Company was in existence.

Bob Conley/(R) Kosciusko County Commissioner: " From the county's perspective, everything has been done and is being done to make sure that there's no threat there."

Neumeyer: " IDEM says it intends to conduct a site-screening sometime this spring.

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