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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IDEM > Environmental Cleanup > Site Investigation Site Investigation

The Site Investigation (SI) Program within the Federal Programs section, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) was established in 1983. Its mission is to fulfill the assessment portion of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980 or Superfund Program for the state of Indiana.

SI is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to perform assessments. The U.S. EPA Region 5 Office, located in Chicago, works with IDEM in the form of a cooperative agreement. The agreement outlines the commitments and responsibilities between the U.S. EPA and IDEM.

To contact the IDEM Office of Land Quality Site Investigation Section, please call (317) 234-0351.

Overview of Assessment Process

The assessment process typically begins with SI staff receiving a complaint, site report, or site referral from other IDEM personnel, citizens, or county health department officials. Staff gather preliminary information about the site and identify possible negative impacts to human health and/or the environment. A site inspection may also be required. After the preliminary information is collected, the site is prioritized using either the PreScore or QuickScore computer model. Use of these computer models involves professional judgment that may include an evaluation of the overall site score, an evaluation of the site's past land use, possible sources of contamination, and sensitive environments. Staff may determine that environmental samples, such as water, soil, or sediment, need to be collected. If sample results or observations made during the site visit show that there is an immediate threat to human health and/or the environment, an immediate removal action could be recommended. Staff may expand the investigation at this point in the process by collecting additional environmental samples or by gathering other types of useful information. Once all data collected has been evaluated, IDEM staff and management determine how best to deal with the site on a long-term basis.

A site may be diverted to other programs within IDEM, such as State Cleanup, the Voluntary Remediation Program, or Federal Programs at any time during the assessment process, if jurisdiction falls to another authority within IDEM. The site could also be referred to the U.S. EPA if it possibly qualifies for the Federal Superfund Program. Community relations are a key to success when working with the assessment process. Often members of a particular community may be able to provide important detailed information regarding a site. The SI staff are available to discuss these programs or provide assistance at any time.