The Galen Myers Dump/Drum Salvage (Galen Myers) Site is located in Osceola, St. Joseph County, Indiana (east of South Bend) and consists of a contaminated groundwater plume that spans a residential area encompassing about 180 homes. Drum reclamation activities were conducted by Mr. Galen Myers from about 1970 to 1983. He stored 55-gallon steel chemical drums obtained from local industries and recycled them by dumping the contents to the ground, and selling the empty drums as trash containers/burn barrels.
The St. Joseph County Health Department (SJCHD) first investigated the Galen Myers site in 1981 in response to nearby residents’ complaints. The SJCHD then requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess the site. During site inspections conducted in 1984, EPA found many leaking and deteriorating drums filled with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In 1986, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) found site soils and nearby private wells to be contaminated, with the primary chemical of concern being trichloroethylene (TCE) and its breakdown products. In March 1989, the site was listed on the NPL. From 1995-1996, EPA provided public water connection to 180 impacted residences. A 1999 SJCHD Well Ordinance prevents installation of wells within the Area of Concern and serves as the institutional control. IDEM performs annual groundwater sample collection, analysis, and reporting.
In June and December 2015, EPA’s remedial program collected soil gas samples along the length of the groundwater plume to see if VOCs were present in soil gas. Based on those results, EPA performed indoor air and sub-slab sampling (IA/SS) at 11 residents where soil gas samples were found at excess concentration, completed in April 2016. 7 of the 11 had exceedances above action levels. The EPA remedial program will conduct additional IA/SS sampling at neighboring residences (proposed 28 additional properties).