Paul here. Just writing this intro for a new feature I’m planning for 2019.

As an environmental professional, you encounter a lot of stories. Every site has a story. No site gets contaminated without a story. What were people doing there, and what idea, whether clever, harebrained, reckless, or good-intentioned, led to the releases of toxic chemicals that we now have to deal with?

Even aside from contamination, every site has a story, what you can call urban archeology. In the Midwest, the story that we can find out about starts in the 19th century with white settlement in the area. Since then a contaminated site has frequently been used for a long, convoluted sequence of things, from cornfields to houses to railyards to factories to gas stations… Each site is a microcosm of economic history: everything that someone with gumption and the ability to talk someone out of enough cash to buy the place thought he (or she) could use it to turn a profit.

The Continental “Continual” Steel plant in Kokomo, IN, in the mid 20th century. It is now a Superfund site following its abrupt closure in the 1980s. I was the Indiana Department of Environmental Management staff geologist assigned to the site from 2006-2009. Photo from

Obviously I couldn’t resist the (as far as I can tell, unused) alliteration Superfund Stories, and I plan to tell stories about a number of Superfund sites of my acquaintance (including Continental Steel, Galen Myers, and Lusher Street, but this blog won’t be limited to Superfund sites. Expect to see an entry once a month in 2019. Expect to be intrigued, concerned, and hopefully to learn a bit about Things Not To Do To Your Commercial Property.

(As opposed to How To Turn Your Rural Homestead Into A Superfund Site In Three Easy Steps: The Galen Myers Story.)

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