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More testing for contaminants underway in Franklin homes

FRANKLIN, Ind. - Another round of sampling for contaminants is underway in Franklin homes.

Edison Wetlands Association, a non-profit based in New Jersey, is coordinating testing of  8 homes by Mundell & Associates for any volatile organic compounds. This follows their initial report that showed higher levels of VOC's in some homes. It was prompted by concerns about the number of pediatric cancer cases in the area and whether there's any environmental contamination.

That includes the Clark's.

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions, up and down," Jennifer Clark said. "It found we had high levels of VOC's, higher than what it would be in an industrial environment which was a little shocking to us first of all, then it was concerning to us."

She has concerns about where it's coming from, the safety of her home, her family members, and her daughter, Chelsea, who underwent three and a half years of treatment for Leukemia.

"We try to live our lives day to day but in the back of our mind there's still that, is our house safe?" Clark said.

Tuesday, EWA said samples were taken from a port installed in the Clark's basement and canisters were placed in the kitchen and front room. They'll be collected on Wednesday.

"We are here to collect more data, but we're also here to show the community a path forward," EWA executive director Robert Spiegel said.

Following EWA's initial report, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the U.S. EPA and City of Franklin started collecting more data throughout Franklin.

Enviroforensics, a firm hired by the city, found VOC's above screening levels along a sewer line south of the former Amphenol site, which is undergoing a clean up of past contamination.

The EPA is requiring Amphenol to investigate any contamination.

IDEM has said it's found no specific widespread environmental concern, but pledge to retest three homes from EWA's initial report. That includes the Clark's.

The agency released this statement:

"IDEM has been working with EWA and residents in Franklin to complete the testing we committed to at the public meeting. One of those commitments was to re-test three homes that originally showed elevated levels of TCE or PCE. We are currently arranging dates to sample both home #12 and #13 from EWA/Mundell’s first report. IDEM sampled the third home (home #6) and found no chemicals of concern, including PCE and TCE, inside the home or in the ambient air outside the home. Those results can be found on our website as well as on our interactive map: www.idem.IN.gov/Franklin."

We also plan to have the first round of air monitoring data this week which will be uploaded to the website as soon as we receive the quality-assured sampling results for both TCE and PCE.

EWA has raised concerns with the agency's handling of testing and communication with the community.

"They're leaving this community to hang and the community needs to know that, they need to be active," Spiegel said.

EWA and the group If It Was Your Child are hosting a community meeting Thursday.