NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – Noblesville is investigating hazardous chemical spills at the Indiana Transportation Museum(ITM).
According to the city of Noblesville, the city began an investigation at Forest Park after receiving a tip expressing concerns about how the storage of some materials and equipment may be hazardous for the environment.
Early in the investigation, it was discovered that there issues with storage of some of fluids, container leakage and ground stains of oil, diesel fuel and other products normally used in the maintenance of ITM’s former railroad operations.
As a result of the investigation and their handling of their hazardous materials, both the City of Noblesville and the Noblesville Parks and Recreation Board have notified the ITM that they are in “serious default” under the terms of their release.
The ITM will immediately begin containment measures and develop a plan within 90 days for permanent removal of the contamination.
ITM Board Chair John McNichols released a statement:
The pronouncement by the City of Noblesville and the Noblesville Parks Department about alleged environmental issues at the Indiana Transportation Museum site comes to us as a complete surprise. It is significant that Mayor Ditsler’s office cancelled a meeting scheduled for this morning (Wednesday, 5/31) with new ITM leaders where this could have been discussed and resolved. We were not aware of their concerns until the city’s news release and we have not been contacted by city officials.
This is another example of local political leaders’ unwillingness to work with the ITM and its new leadership to resolve differences. This latest release is simply another trumped up charge to reduce the significant public outcry against the cities of Fishers and Noblesville to rip up the rails.
The ITM has been in Forest Park since 1990. The site is a maintenance facility for vintage locomotives and other railroad historic artifacts. Museum maintenance personnel store and handle fuels and lube oils in the maintenance and operation of equipment. There are no known violations on the park property. To the best of our knowledge there have been no violations or complaints registered with IDEM. ITM pledges full cooperation with IDEM and their contractors to resolve any issues. Our new ITM management and staff will be addressing possible ground contamination issues with Hamilton County and IDEM to establish a plan to resolve any issues.
The Indianapolis Transportation Museum continues to believe in the economic and historic benefits of the Museum’s Nickel Plate trains and the entertainment, dreams and memories they offer. Our trains, crews and track have been certified by the Federal Railroad Administration and we continue to be bewildered at the opposition local leaders have to a true community asset.
The city also stated that there was no immediate threat.