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Northeast Indy neighbors upset about dead fish in pond

Posted: 11:58 AM, Aug 12, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-12 11:58:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS —Neighbors in a northeast Indianapolis neighborhood are overwhelmed by the sight and smell of dead fish in a retention pond. The neighbors want to know who is responsible for cleaning up the mess.

The city is working on a drainage project designed to help ease flooding that has been a concern in the neighborhood. The neighbors, however, aren't happy with how workers are going about the project.

"I don't know about you but this smell is getting to me," resident Connie King said.

King lives in the Castleton Farms neighborhood near 75th Street and Shadeland Avenue. Flooding has been a concern for years and the project is needed, she said.

"We do need this project and needed to be dredged because we have a lot of flooding in here," King, the vice president of the neighborhood association, said. "They said they would take out the fish and the turtles and transport them someplace else."

King said they next thing neighbors found out the contractor said they weren't saving the fish or the turtles. The smell has been an issue for days and nothing is being done about it, King said.

"This is a nightmare and you can smell it, it's going in our houses," King said.

Another resident, Susan Miston, said she reached out to her city-county councilor hoping to get some answers about why the fish weren't saved. She, too, is asking what can ben done about the terrible smell.

"I hope they do something quick because our summer kind of stinks," she said.

RTV6 reached out to the Indianapolis Department of Public Works for a response. These are the talking points DPW sent back:

  • DPW Project SD-06-003 (Upper Blue Creek Neighborhood Drainage Improvement Project) is a combination of improvements to detention basins along the north side of 75th Street, and new roadside drainage infrastructure along 75th Street and Hague Road. Drainage improvements will mitigate flooding in the Upper Blue Creek watershed, and the work will be accompanied by new ADA-accessible sidewalks and other pedestrian improvements along Hague Road and 75th Street. The total project construction cost is approximately $2.7 million.
  • DPW’s negotiations with the Castleton Farms Homeowners Association regarding right-of-way and easement acquisition to improve this system near the Castleton Farms neighborhood included associated costs for perpetual access to land for construction, for the replacement of pond fountains, and to restock fish after the necessary draining of the pond.
  • A public outreach meeting was held in 2018 while this project was in design, and various stakeholder meetings and site meetings have been held during the construction process in the presence of HOA leadership; for the past month and a half, these meetings have been hosted at HOA facilities. Castleton Farms HOA leadership has been understanding of the necessity of a fish kill and a great local partner during construction.
  • Contractors set the pond to drain at the beginning of August; after a pond is drained, a drying out period is required to allow equipment to operate in the pond basin. On Friday, August 9, construction equipment was delivered to the site, and dredging work is expected to begin today, August 12. Pending favorable weather conditions, the majority of the odorous material should be removed from the Castleton Farms site by the end of this week.
  • Some remaining excavation at the pond site may continue after this week, and construction work will also continue at various other project sites. Project SD-06-003 as a whole is expected to be a substantial improvement to the regional drainage system; completion of construction is anticipated in early 2020.
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