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ATSDR Releases Final Public Health Assessment for the North Shore Drive Ground Water Contamination Site, Unincorporated Elkhart County, Indiana

Elkhart County, Indiana

Friday, September 29, 2017

(ATLANTA, GA) – The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has released its final report for the North Shore Drive Groundwater Contamination Site in unincorporated Elkhart County, Indiana. 

The public health assessment evaluates available environmental data for trichloroethylene (TCE) as well as community concerns to determine whether people were exposed to hazardous substances in the groundwater and whether those exposures are harmful.  TCE was detected in residential wells at 9 homes at levels that exceeded EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 parts per billion (ppb)  for TCE.

The North Shore Drive site is a 70 acre groundwater contaminant plume bounded by the St. Joseph River to the south, Old U.S. 20 to the north, Sheridan Boulevard to the east, and Corwin Drive to the west.  The area includes approximately 35 residential properties and a few commercial establishments.  Federal, state, and local agencies, in 1996, began investigating the area because of residents’ complaints of skin irritation, headaches, and rashes.

ATSDR reached the following conclusions after evaluating the data for the North Shore Drive Groundwater Contamination Site:

  • People who used TCE-contaminated well water, in the past, for household purposes (e.g., drinking, showering, bathing, etc.) may be at risk for harmful non-cancer health effects associated with TCE exposure.
  • Children and adults exposed to the highest measured TCE concentration (85 ppb) may be at an increased risk for cancer.
  • Vapor intrusion may be an exposure pathway for TCE.  ATSDR could not evaluate this pathway because it has not yet been investigated.

ATSDR recommends that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), along with the appropriate federal, state or local agencies:

  • take proper actions, as needed, to reduce exposure to TCE;
  • determine the source(s) of groundwater contamination in the area;
  • describe the nature and extent of the contamination at the site, including soil contamination, if any;
  • investigate possible vapor intrusion at the site;
  • check private wells in the area to make sure filtration systems are operating properly and collect pre- and post-filtration water samples;
  • check the groundwater plume to make sure additional private wells are not contaminated or become contaminated in the future;
  • connect residents, who use private well water for household purposes, to the public water supply if they are affected or may be affected by the contaminated groundwater plume.

To read the report visit:

Copies of the public health assessment can also be reviewed during regular hours at the   Elkhart Public Library – Central, 300 2nd Street, Elkhart, IN 46516. 

For more information about the North Shore Drive site contact CDC-INFO at 1-800-CDC-INFO
(1-800-232-4636) or or visit


ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, evaluates the potential for adverse human health effects of exposure to hazardous substances in the environment.

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Related PHA & HC For this Press Release

North Shore Drive Groundwater Contamination
Document Date: 9/28/2017 - PHA  [PDF - 2636 KB]

North Shore Drive Groundwater Contamination
Document Date: 4/6/2017 - PHA  [PDF - 4732 KB]

North Shore Drive Groundwater Contamination
-Fact Sheet
Document Date: 4/6/2017 - PHA  [PDF - 395 KB]

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