"Epic Cleanup Begins at Gary’s Toxic Lagoon"

"GARY — The secluded west side neighborhood once filled with chickens and horses has been replaced by giant yellow excavators and crews in hard hats. No remnants of the Hispanic enclave nicknamed Cowboy Town remain now as the cleanup of the toxic Ralston Street lagoon shifts into high gear after decades of delay."

"The 17-acre lagoon appears tranquil and inviting to motorists traveling the Indiana Toll Road near Clark Road. The Toll Road’s 1956 construction is believed to be the genesis of the borrow pit now known as the Ralston Street lagoon.

Just steps away from the Grand Calumet River, the stew of toxic sludge sits in the glide path of jets taking off from the Gary/Chicago International Airport just northwest of the lagoon. Flags and lights adorn construction equipment to make sure pilots avoid it.

Filled with cancer-causing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) that were banned in 1976, the lagoon has languished as the city dawdled and regulators figure out the best method to remediate it. "

Carole Carlson reports for the Northwest Indiana Post-Tribune June 9, 2012.

Source: Gary Post-Tribune, 06/11/2012