EPA explains why it wants Beck's Lake area on Superfund list - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

EPA explains why it wants Beck's Lake area on Superfund list

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Thursday night South Bend residents find out why the E.P.A. wants to put Beck's Lake and LaSalle park on a list of contaminated places.  The list is the National Priorities list and EPA officials said Beck's Lake and LaSalle park is contaminated with Arsenic.

This area including the park and Beck's Lake used to be a dumping ground.  In recent years some soil samples from the area have shown higher levels of arsenic that would be expected in a park.
So the EPA wants to get this area on the NPL list so they can do even more testing to see exactly what kind of contamination could be there and if the site needs to be cleaned up.

The EPA held an open house Thursday to answer questions.  Lifelong South Bend resident Connie Green was there because she's concerned about contamination near her home.  "I want the people to be safe, I want the babies to be safe," said Green.

In May, the EPA proposed putting the Beck's lake area on its National Priorities List.  That set off some alarms with the city.  Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, "that has all of us in the community saying what does this mean?  Is it healthy?  Is it safe?  Is it ok to play in the park?  is everybody ok in their homes?"

They answered some questions.  They told the audience that based on preliminary tests there's no reason to be concerned about the park.  But they admitted they don't have all the answers right now.  "To date we don't have a lot of detailed information about what's in the park," said Joan Tanaka, a Remedial Program Manager with the EPA.  And that's why they want to put the site on the NPL list, being on the list allows the EPA to do a comprehensive investigation of the Beck's lake area.  "So then we'll be able to answer lots and lots of questions," said Tanaka.

But it will be a long process.  Right now the EPA is just working to get the area on the list.  They hope to have an answer to that in the fall.  After that Tanaka said it, "usually takes three to five years to investigate."  And then they'll decide if any cleanup is necessary and the best way to do that.

For now, Connie Green wants the community to support the proposal to put her neighborhood on the NPL list because that's how she'll get her answers.  "This serves the whole community cause half of South Bend lived on the west side at one point."

The EPA said they took 90 samples in this area Tuesday and Wednesday.  The results won't be back for about 60 days but they also used what they called a "screening tool."  They said the results of that have them believing there's no reason to be immediately concerned about the park.

The EPA is currently taking public comment on the proposal to have the Beck's lake area put on the National Priorities List.  You can share your comments with them online, by email, and by regular mail.  You have until July 23rd to voice your opinion and must include the docket number when you do so.  That number is EPA-HQ-SFUND-2013-0196.

Online visit http://www.regulations.gov then follow the instructions for submitting comments

email superfund.docket@epa.gov

mail comments to: Docket Coordinator, Headquarters U.S. Environmental Protection Agency CERCLA Docket Office (Mailcode 5305T) 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20460

 

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