Meeting on Hartford Iron Cleanup

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 2-2012

Hartford Iron, satellite view



The Hartford Iron Cleanup

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 Tests Available

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  Kits are also available for $15 each by calling the radon info hotline 1-800-272-9723.  Additional information is available at

Precautions for the Hartford City Baseball Field

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.

BCCC Forum, April 25, 2015

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.Audience







Dr. Sherrie Steiner’s Environmental Sociology class from IU-Purdue Ft Wayne (IPFW) presented the three projects they worked on this semester:

Indra speakingDr. 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.Joe Castelo and students

Click here for the event flyer.

Click here for the agenda.