By Sarah Lang
The fate of Hot Pond is now in the hands of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management as the city is waiting on results of soil and other material testing. Additional test samples were taken from the pond yesterday, said Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis. They know the material pulled from the floor of the pond is lime, he said, but the IDEM wants to make sure there isn’t anything else in the lime.
“We don’t believe there is anything else in there,” Lewis said. “Once the results are back, we can start hauling it away and then figure out what to do.”
Dredgers have gone 20 feet down and are still finding lime, he added. If they have to go down to 35 feet, and if the IDEM says the city has to clear it all out, that could cost around $750,000.
“Then the city would have to decide if it’s worth the money, or if we should just fill it in,” Lewis said. “It’s all up in the air.”
Though the process has turned into a headache, Lewis said he doesn’t blame anyone. Back when the pond was used by the milk condensery, and then in the 1960s when Lebanon Utilities put the lime in it, there were no regulations like there are today.
Parks Director John Messenger said the IDEM stopped the dredging process about a month ago, requesting additional testing. A geologist and environment engineering firm is currently helping the city with the process.
“We needed some help with this,” he said. “It’s a little bit out of my realm, above my pay grade.”
See Saturday's Lebanon Reporter for more on this story.