Outgoing U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) wants the Environmental Protection Agency to take on the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites in Franklin. Donnelly says Gov. Eric Holcomb should get involved and ask the EPA to step in.
Donnelly and the grass roots group If It Was Your Child say the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the City of Franklin haven’t done enough to protect families. They say IDEM knew about the contamination as far back as 2013.
He says Johnson County families have a right to know if their community is a safe place.
"Is a place they can raise their kids, is a place that they can retire in and have all the joys of their family together," says Donnelly.
Stacie Davidson’s stepson battled a rare form of leukemia. She’s the co-founder of If It Was Your Child and says they’ve butted heads for years with different state agencies.
"If we’re under one jurisdiction and we are testing under one entity then it’s going to be a lot easier for the community to understand what’s going on," says Davidson. "Which they deserve."
Recent tests showed elevated levels of known carcinogens in one groundwater site and some sewers. Donnelly says the IDEM hasn't managed the issue.
"IDEM knew that these plumes were moving," says Donnelly. "IDEM knew that the contamination was moving further out."
Kari Rhinehart lost her daughter to cancer. She says she hopes the EPA will provide clarity.
"Right now the information we get from other agencies gets kind of spun in a way to look like 'it’s not quite as bad as you guys think.' And we don’t do spin," Rhinehart says.
According to Rhinehart’s group, over the past 10 years, 50 Johnson County children have been diagnosed with cancer.