INDIANAPOLIS — The protective cap on a decades-old landfill near an Indianapolis golf course is eroding, compromising the barrier that keeps toxins from escaping.

The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2cXmVJ1 ) reports that the repair work near the Whispering Hills Golf Course will fall to the city parks department, which owns the land, leaving taxpayers on the hook for as much as $6 million.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management inspectors discovered in April 2014 that the old Julietta Landfill’s cap had eroded due to natural wear and tear.

Officials say testing since 2014 hasn’t found any imminent threat to public health. But a neighborhood group says nearby residents are concerned about what a leaking landfill could mean for them.

“Just the idea of what is leeching into Buck Creek,” said Jennifer Selm, the president of the Greater Troy Neighborhood Association, “it’s kind of disturbing.”

Indy Parks planner Don Colvin says the department has been aggressively looking for solutions. The city has already spent nearly $300,000 to make repairs to the landfill.

“Unfortunately, it’s a side effect of owning a lot of land,” Parks Director Linda Broadfoot said. “Sometimes the land has a history that predates you that has to be dealt with.”

The formerly private landfill was shut down in 1976 when the state board of health determined the site’s geology was unsuitable for use a landfill. But starting in the early 1980’s, the city used the site to store more than 16,000 tons of sludge from a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

The longtime industrial dumpsite was converted into the public golf course in the early 1990s. Under state law, the parks department took on the long-term responsibility to maintain the safety of the site.


Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com