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John Applegate
Vice President for University Regional Affairs, Planning, and Policy

Last modified: Friday, October 29, 2010

IU announces that a voluntary remediation project on Range Road is nearly complete

Oct. 29, 2010

EDITORS: There is an FAQ regarding the former coal ash storage area online at:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University announced today that it is nearing completion of a multi-year voluntary remediation project at a former coal ash storage area located north of Range Road and near the IU Golf Course in Bloomington.

The final step in the process is the installation of a stormwater treatment system, recently approved in a permit issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) that will govern the discharge of water from the site. The construction of the treatment system should be completed by the end of the year.

"Indiana University voluntarily initiated this remediation project a number of years ago, because it was the right thing to do to protect and enhance the Lake Griffey watershed," said John Applegate, IU Vice President for University Regional Affairs, Planning and Policy. "The years of effort and millions of dollars invested in this project demonstrate IU's commitment to being a good environmental steward of the property it owns. The permit is a critical milestone along the road to completing this important project. We are very pleased that the project can be completed this year."

The last phase of this remediation project included the construction of a series of limestone-lined settling basins in which the water will be treated before eventually being discharged into Indiana Creek. Sampling has demonstrated that the main constituent of concern in the water is iron, which is present in concentrations below action levels set by Indiana clean water standards. The permit issued by IDEM calls for monitoring for iron and other constituents to ensure continued protection of the environment in general and the creek in particular.

For approximately eight years in the 1970s, IU deposited coal ash from its Central Heating Plant at the Range Road site. In 2004, IU enrolled the site in the Indiana Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) to facilitate Indiana Department of Environmental Management review and approval of IU's planned closure of the site.

Although no work was required to be performed at the site under either federal or state environmental rules, IU submitted a voluntary remediation work plan to IDEM in the spring of 2006, after conducting a thorough investigation of site conditions, including sampling area ground water and surface water. Although this sampling revealed no adverse impacts to the environment, IU chose to permanently close the site using current closure standards. IDEM approved IU's closure plan in July 2006, and most of the work required by the approved plan was completed in the fall of 2006.

However, the implementation of IU's original plan to totally eliminate discharge proved not to be possible given terrain and water flow conditions at the site. As a result, in 2009 IU applied to IDEM for a permit to govern the discharge.

The permit issued by IDEM is the product of two public comment periods in which IDEM received and considered comments from Environmental Law and Policy Center, the Sierra Club and the Hoosier Environmental Council and from IU. Throughout this process, IU has reached out to IDEM and the environmental groups to address concerns that have been raised and to develop a permit that complies with the law and protects the environment.

IU has spent in excess of $4 million in environmental investigation, consultant fees, and remediation expenses in its ongoing efforts at the Range Road site. The issuance of the permit is an important final step in its multi-year effort to remediate the Range Road Site.