News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 5, 2013

Terre Town gets good water news

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Residents of Terre Town got a little good news last week when two well water tests came back clear of volatile organic compounds, VOCs.

The Terre Town neighborhood association paid for the tests, which cost a total of $500, said Gail Phillips, president of the association. Testing for VOCs was recommended by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, she said.

“We’ve just ruled out the VOCs,” Phillips said, noting that the tests did not check for other possible contaminants.

The results were sent directly to IDEM, Phillips said.

VOCs include a long list of compounds, including tetrachloroethene (PCE), benzene and chloroform.

The tested wells were located along Clay Avenue in Terre Town, which is in the northwest corner of the neighborhood. Future well tests may focus on different areas, including along Haythorne Avenue, Phillips said. Haythorne marks the northern boundary of Terre Town.

Many residents of Terre Town, which is roughly between 13th and 25th streets on the northern edge of the city, are concerned about possible contamination in their well water, Phillips said. Some worry that cases of illnesses, such as cancer, in the neighborhood, have resulted from well water problems, she said.

Many — about half — of Terre Town residents use wells for their tap water. The rest receive their water from Indiana American Water Co., which is not the water in question or being tested.

In addition to urging the well tests, officials with IDEM have also asked for any property records prior to about 1939 showing industrial, manufacturing or waste disposal facilities in the neighborhood. Such records could help pave the way for a large-scale, federally funded test of the groundwater in the area, state officials have said.

Phillips asks that anyone with information about possible causes of past groundwater contamination in the Terre Town neighborhood please contact her at via email at gail.phillips1@ or by phone at 325-315-0683.

Such information can include oral reports, private documents, photographs, maps, aerial views, land deeds or other sources, she said.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@trib