This month Mundell & Associates completed a comprehensive Environmental Review of Delaware County’s largest industrial park, Industria Center, as a part of a collaboration between citizens of the area and county officials.
The site has been an industrial center for decades with various incidents and clean-up activities undertaken throughout the years. Citizens in recent years have been concerned with the air quality and operations of Exide Technologies, a battery recycling operation which operated a secondary lead smelter. Local officials met with concerned residents in the fall of 2019 to gather thoughts on what more the County should be doing in the area to address any historical contamination and to prevent future environmental problems.
After hearing of Mundell’s work on the industrial site in Franklin, Indiana, the citizens proposed contacting Mundell to complete a thorough site review of historic environmental conditions in Industria Center. County Redevelopment officials acted on that recommendation and hired Mundell to complete an exhaustive environmental area assessment report.
John Mundell, President of Mundell & Associates, noted that such a report of historical environmental conditions is traditionally known as a Phase I study, but this review went beyond the scope of one site and included a “much larger geographic territory that we had to consider with multiple histories, regulatory statuses, and potential contaminants of concern.”
Mundell not only took into account past documents detailing land use, businesses and potential environmental issues but also studied aerial photographs from as early as 1948, U.S. Geographic Service maps from as early as 1952, city directories, and conducted interviews with local citizens familiar with the area.
The final report – which can be viewed here – proposed 10 sampling plans that could expose potential areas and contaminants of concern. Mundell prioritized these plans taking into account specific site considerations and the fact that the results of one plan may help engage regulatory agencies and thereby provide funding for further investigations.
Throughout the process Mundell was impressed with the collaboration between the citizens and the local government.
Brad Bookout, County Director of Economic Affairs praised the citizens for their help thus far on the project and will be looking for input on any future projects. “Before the Phase Two work begins, we’ve assured the local citizen advisory group that their review and input on the sampling plan is a must. Knowing the importance of this project, we want to remain working closely with them.”
Sandi Aul, a local resident, credited the Delaware County commissioners with “sitting down at the table to talk to us” and initiating the report. “They’re setting a model for other communities to address the concerns of people,” she said. “I hope it continues to be a good working relationship.”
Under the leadership of Delaware County Commissioner James King who authorized this study, Mundell & Associates is looking forward to watching the community work together to address the health and safety of all its residents and be responsible stewards of the environment.
“We have a responsibility to take care of our environment,” said Delaware County Commissioner James King. “We all want new businesses to locate here, but we have to take care of our environment and our citizens first.”