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Money Earmarked For Contamination Study

November 9, 1985

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ The State Board of Health approved a $50,000 emergency fund Friday to begin cleaning up groundwater contaminated so severely by gasoline that it has caused two explosions and can be ignited with a match.

The money will be used to study and begin cleaning up gasoline contamination in the water supply of at least five houses in Belleville, said health department spokesman Art Logsdon.

He said investigators would be in the community just west of Indianapolis on Saturday to determine if it is safe for residents to remain in the houses. Levels of gasoline in the well water are so high it can be ignited with a match, Logsdon said.

The contaminated water caused an explosion in one resident’s washing machine and an explosion and fire that destroyed another house, Logsdon said.

Health officials believe the fuel is leaking into the underground water supply from storage tanks at a nearby gasoline station.

″The state fire marshal came out early in the year and ordered the tanks sealed,″ Logsdon said, adding that the present owner of the service station bought the property after the contamination was discovered.

Health officials did not know that five houses outside the property had severely contaminated water until a television news report featured the problem, Logsdon said.

Rosanell Snow said she first noticed a strong smell to her well water about a week before her washing machine exploded Sept. 18.

″I was in the other room and I heard an explosion,″ she said Friday. ″It blew out the window screen, knocked pictures off the wall and caused a small fire.″

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