Do you have concerns about public health in your community? Do you want investigation into possible pollution sights in your neighborhood? Are you proud to live in Blackford County? Then come share your concerns with the community!
You are invited to participate in the Blackford County Concerned Citizens’ (BCCC) Photo Voice Project!
Please join us on March 19th at City Hall. We want to hear you share your story!
Eighteen Blackford County citizens attended a public information meeting November 7 at City Hall in Hartford City hosted by Blackford County Concerned Citizens. Indra Frank, Environmental Health Director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, gave a synopsis of the public record on Hartford Iron’s cleanup including what contaminants have been found there and what cleanup has occurred, so far. Kristen Belcredi, Senior Vice President of Engineering Services with Keramida, answered questions on Keramida’s plans to install a permanent storm water treatment system. The system will include a retention pond at the Chestnut Street property owned by Hartford Iron. The storm water from Hartford Iron will be collected there and then treated to remove contaminants before it is released into the storm sewer. Ms. Belcredi reported that there will be a fence around the pond. In answer to questions about mosquito control, she said that the water will be circulating which discourages mosquito breeding and they will use control measures, if needed. There ismore information on the cleanup here
If you see or hear explosions at Hartford Iron or see dust and soil from Hartford Iron spreading beyond their property line, please call the Complaint Coordinator for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at (800) 451-6027 ext. 24464 or file a complaint electronically here.
Blackford County Concerned Citizens (BCCC) in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) has reviewed the public record on the Hartford Iron contamination and cleanup.
On Saturday, Nov 7, 2015, BCCC hosted a meeting to provide an update on the cleanup. 18 Blackford County citizens attended including Mayor Hodgin. The environmental consulting firm responsible for the next steps in the cleanup, Keramida, sent their Senior Vice President for Engineering Services, Kristen Belcredi, to the meeting.
BCCC president, Joe Castelo, gave an introduction. Dr. Indra Frank, Environmental Health Director with HEC, gave a synopsis of the violations, agreed order, contaminants, and cleanup to date. Her presentation is available here. Kristen Belcredi, from Keramida, explained the storm water system that is going to be installed. It will collect all of the storm water that runs off of Hartford Iron into a retention pond that will be built on a property Hartford Iron owns on the south side of Chestnut Street. From there the water will be treated to remove contaminants before being released into the storm sewer. Ms. Belcredi explained that the water in the pond will be moving, which discourages mosquito breeding, but if necessary they will treat it to prevent mosquitoes. There were some excellent questions from the attendees.
Hartford Iron, satellite view
Oil and gas drilling activities in Blackford County in the 1880s and 1890s left behind more than 1400 abandoned wells. Those wells can act as conduits of groundwater pollutants. Read more here.
Hartford Iron and Metal in Hartford City is a heavily contaminated site currently undergoing cleanup mandated by state and federal agencies. Blackford County Concerned Citizens is concerned that the contamination could have health implications for the community, so we are keeping a close eye on the cleanup. To read what we know about the contamination, the cleanup to date, and the cleanup steps that should start soon – Click here.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can seep into houses from some types of soil. Elevated levels in a home increase the risk of lung cancer. A limited number of discounted tests are available for Blackford County. If you are interested, contact Indra at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kits are also available for $15 each by calling the radon info hotline 1-800-272-9723. Additional information is available at www.HealthHouse.org.
Blackford County Concerned Citizens, in partnership with the Hoosier Environmental Council, has tested soil at Southside Elementary, the Babe Ruth baseball field in Hartford City, and Montpelier’s Little League fields for heavy metals that might have been left behind by glass factories decades ago.
All of the soil samples from Montpelier and Southside Elementary School had the same levels of arsenic and lead as soil generally does in this part of Indiana. A few deposits of arsenic and lead were found at Hartford City’s baseball field, high enough to exceed Indiana’s residential standard, but well within the standard for recreational fields.
While the arsenic and lead levels found are within state recreational field standards, they are high enough that it’s worth exercising caution when you are at Hartford City’s baseball fields. BCCC recommends parents do a few simple things to limit exposure to the soil:
- Don’t let children get the soil in their mouths
- After spending time there, wash your hands and children’s hands
- Wash clothes that have soil on them (like baseball uniforms)
- Leave shoes that have been to the site at the door, don’t wear them into your home
See full details of the soil testing here.
Blackford County Concerned Citizens Forum:
Embracing Opportunities for Community Health, Part 1 in a series
Blackford County Concerned Citizens is taking action to address environmental health concerns raised by the community including testing soil and water and doing computer-based mapping. BCCC’s goal is to find and reduce environmental exposures that could increase the risk of cancer or neurologic disease.
More than 60 people were at City Hall in Hartford City for the Forum to hear about BCCC’s work to date.
Dr. Sherrie Steiner’s Environmental Sociology class from IU-Purdue Ft Wayne (IPFW) presented the three projects they worked on this semester:
Dr. Indra Frank, Environmental Health Project Director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, reported on health data for the county, the well testing project, and the project to test soil at sites where there used to be glass factories. Her presentation slides.
Cheryl Mathews, Director of Education and Client Services for Cancer Services of East Central Indiana – Little Red Door, described the support services available to cancer patients in Blackford County through her agency.
Joe Castelo, president of BCCC, gave a history of the organization and described how this work was funded by donations from supporters and a grant from the Blackford County Community Foundation. Joe asked attendees to consider renewing their support to continue BCCC’s work with a reminder that there is currently an opportunity for matching funds through the Blackford County Community Foundation.
Click here for the event flyer.
Click here for the agenda.
In The Star Press yesterday there was an article that discussed the disturbing medical mystery in Blackford County that the rates for Cancer and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS) were higher than than any other county in the state. Leah Aubrey was quoted about these statistics and the death of her father from cancer.
The article is here:
There also is an older article that was posted to the Blackford County Concerned Citizens Facebook page which discusses a case against 3M for illegal dumping in Minnesota.
The article is here:
We need your help today! If we are going to learn what is happening in Blackford County, we need to get everyone to fill out a survey! We need people to help get these surveys to everyone in Blackford County. We have lots of tasks that need to be done. Please attend the meeting if you are interested in helping with any of these tasks or would just like more information in general. If you are out of town but would still like to help please send an email to BlackfordCountyConcernedCitizens@yahoo.com• Take the survey to their church• Take the survey to their community organization• Organize a booth at community events to distribute the survey• Enter the data from the surveys• To search public records on the IDEM Virtual File Cabinet (can be done from any location)• Mapping the facilities and disease cases to make a comprehensive picture. • Fundraising• Local officers•Public Relations
Location: John XXIII Center 407 W. McDonald St Hartford City, IN
Start Time: 14:00
End Time: 17:00