The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold an information session on
Feb. 9 about the Yard 520 landfill, a Superfund site in the town of Pines.
The EPA, to be
joined by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, will give an
update on site activities. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the Dunes
Baptist Church, 4486 W. U.S. 20, Michigan City.
citizen group that has been closely monitoring the landfill, said it has
voiced concerns to the EPA about the presence of radiation in the 1.5
million tons of coal combustion waste located at Yard 520.
PINES said that
all coal contains naturally occurring radioactive materials that are not
destroyed or altered by coal’s transformation to fly ash. Data collected for
the Yard 520 cleanup shows fly ash radium measurements exceeding the
radioactive soil cleanup criteria commonly used by the EPA, PINES said.
PINES said no
data for Yard 520 exists for radiation levels in home drinking water and
that the EPA should have collected data directly from homes to determine if
radiation added to the chemical hazards. The risk from Yard 520 has focused
on chemical contaminants in drinking water.
The PINES group
said it walked many roads in the town last October with a radiation meter
and found radiation levels at least twice the background levels where fly
ash was believed to be dispersed. PINES has used the experience of a retired
Region 5 EPA Superfund radiation expert and radiation risk assessor to
project the human health risk from fly ash contaminated soils and found that
the levels appear to exceed the upper limits of EPA’s Superfund acceptable
“As Region 5
USEPA conducts its Yard 520 risk assessment and its anticipated cleanup it
must recognize radiation as a significant aspect of these actions,” PINES
says in a press release.