Making progress on Himco controversial clean-up

By: Erin Logan Email
By: Erin Logan Email

Their job is to protect the people, but in this case dozens of families in Elkhart think the EPA is being overprotective and claiming their personal property.

We're talking about an area around the former Himco Dump, at County Road 10 and the Nappanee Street Extension.

The agency is testing to measure possible contamination and the newest information has people up in arms.

Jim Hoffman wakes up, makes his coffee, gives his dog Buddy some water, and basically loves living life on a piece of property he calls home. Now, the idea of change on this property is causing some controversy in his neighborhood.

Hoffman says, “They come back and say we're going to put city water in.”

It sounds simple, making the change from well water to city water, but it's not. These people say the switch will cost them money.

Hoffman says, “In the spring, I wash the car and water the lawn.”

The EPA has learned 39 homes in his neighborhood to the east of the dump may be threatened by the contamination, so they feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ross Del Rosario says, “We have a duty to move on with the clean-up. We're always making sure to go on the side of conservatism as far was what the clean-up plan should be.”

Neighbors say that clean-up plan is more than just switching to city water.

Bill Burns asked, “If my water is bad and you run city water down on my property and I don't sign those papers, and my water's bad, you will hook me up?”

The answer was no. There needs to be an agreement, but it's the contractual agreement that sounds scary.

Making the switch means city workers are allowed on the property at all times and if workers get injured.

Burns says, “I'd like to find out where the contaminated plume is and if our water is bad.”

The EPA says they feel like Wednesday’s meeting was proactive. The plan is to go back and look at the language in these agreements they want signed, and see if they can re-work it for the neighbors.

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