EPA proposes pollution cleanup of Delco plant site in Kokomo

KOKOMO, Ind. — Contaminated soil and groundwater at the central Indiana site of a former General Motors plant would be cleaned up under a plan drafted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that aims to help open up the land for redevelopment.

The EPA’s plan, announced Wednesday, would remediate and manage tainted soil and groundwater at the former GM Delco Plant 5 facility in Kokomo, where workers assembled and tested circuit boards between 1953 and 1991, when the plant closed.

The plant was demolished in 1993. Since then, the 10.5-acre (4.25-hectare) property has sat vacant due to redevelopment restrictions requiring that the prime real estate be remediated before it can be used again, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

The EPA’s proposal chiefly aims to clean up high levels of trichloroethene, or TCE, a chemical the federal agency has classified as a carcinogen. In some parts of the Delco site, TCE levels were more than 13 times above the approved level for commercial sites, and nearly 19 times above the limits set for residential properties.

To contain the pollution, the EPA proposes to stabilize and solidify the containments in-place to make them less likely to be leached into the environment, to monitor groundwater and prevent human exposure by placing limits on the land’s use.

Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore said city officials would work with the EPA to get the property remediated and open for future development in the city about 40 miles (64.4 miles) north of Indianapolis.

The EPA is accepting public comment on its remediation plan until March 17.