KOKOMO, Ind. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating the cause of vinyl chloride found in an underground water source providing water to 55,000 residents, according to CBS4indy.com.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) tested positively for the manufactured chemical, noted the article. The underground plume covers nearly 300 acres.

“These are chronic contaminants that over a long period of time. If you consume them, they could cause cancer and affect the liver,” said Kirk Kuroiwa, Water Quality Supervisor at Kokomo’s Indiana American Water treatment plant, in the article.

IDEM found concentrations of vinyl chloride at 2,500 times the allowable amount for drinking water in several wells around the town in 2011, stated the article. EPA has added Kokomo to its Superfund list since the incident.

EPA is using an IDEM report to find the contamination source, reported the article. Fifteen sites have been identified as possible causes. They include businesses that work or have worked with the chemicals in the production of plastics and packaging materials.

It could take several years for the pollution to cease, shared the article. Indiana American Water plant customers’ water is safe, but well water residents are at risk. Kuroiwa says these citizens should have their water tested by IDEM.

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