The plan by some leaders in North Vernon to utilize an old quarry as a new reservoir and primary water supply for the city is being met with some opposition.
North Vernon resident Lester Lee appeared before the city council Monday night to air his grievances. He says that experts say that communities should not establish a water supply near an existing cemetery. Lee notes that there is one running up against the quarry.
Lee is also concerned about a nearby “brown zone” that used to be a Superfund site in the 70s and 80s. Lee says that the site could be a source for thallium, a post-transitional metal that is highly poisonous and deadly to humans. He says that while initial indications are that any toxins from the site are migrating away from the quarry to the north and the west, there is no way to know for sure. Lee says the quarry site is 800 feet to the east of the brown zone.
Mayor Harold “Soup” Campbell says that the concerns about the site have been well-vetted and that safety measures are in place. While noting that safety is of the utmost importance, he also reminded the council about the need to move quickly on the project as the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is involved. Mayor Campbell said that INDOT won’t wait for the city and that not being prepared will cost North Vernon taxpayers enormous amounts of money. He also reminded council members that studies have shown that this quarry proposal is the best option for North Vernon residents.
Council members indicated that they understood what Mayor Campbell was saying, but they also noted that city residents need to feel safe about their water supply. With that, the council agreed that a special meeting for residents to fully discuss their concerns will be held at the Education Training Center on June 22 at 6 p.m.