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Landowners: I-69 Construction Ruining Water Supply

Some property owners say Interstate 69 construction has damaged their springs and the water is no longer drinkable.

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    Photo: Ying Chen

    Homeowners near I-69 construction in Monroe County say their water quality is being degraded because of sediment going into their springs.

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    Photo: Ying Chen

    Three samples Jack's family collected from their spring. The date on bottle from left to right: June 26th 2013, June 30th 2013 and July 28th 2013.

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    Photo: Ying Chen

    The Knapp family hasn't been able to use their spring water for three months since I-69 construction started near their Monroe County home.

Crews are quickly clearing land in Monroe County as Interstate 69 makes it way towards Bloomington. Some folks whose property is near the construction say sediment runoff is degrading their water supply.

The day after a thirty-foot sinkhole was exposed along the I-69 route, Stanford resident Jack Knapp noticed his historic spring changing from its normally clear running water into a murky, muddy creek.

“It’s been this way, a real clear spring, good and clean, drinkable, but look at it now, it’s not that way,” Knapp said, pointing to his muddy spring.

Jack and his wife Jean used their backyard spring as a water source for thirty years, and Jean’s parents used it for fifty years before them.

The water the spring pipes into their home is also used for their washing machine and toilets, but the sediment in the water is forcing them to buy bottled water and Jean needs to go to their daughter’s well up the hill for water when she cooks.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been working closely with the Indiana Department of Transportation to clean up the streams for residents in the area.

“Even if it goes through one of these practices and is filtered, it’s not going to come out clean water,” says IDEM Storm Water Permits Program Chief Randy Braun. “It’s going to have some cloudiness to it.”

Jack Knapp has talked to I-69 officials about his spring, but they denied that the issue stems from their construction.

“And then they come back and said that they would drill me a well,” he says.

Jack Knapp took them up on the offer.

“But then I got thinking about it, what’s going to happen to this? Is it gonna stay this muddy all the time or what? I’ll never be able to use it again,” he says.

In some cases sedimentation is permanent and the water is never drinkable again.

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