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Homes at ex-industrial site not yet for sale

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The cleanup of contaminated ground underneath two homes near a Franklin city park is finished, but the homes will stay empty for at least another year.

Duke Energy bought two homes — located at 201 and 205 S. Home Ave. — near Province Park in Franklin two years ago in order to clean up the contaminated dirt underneath. The site was a manufactured gas plant dating back to the 1800s.

A project to remove thousands of tons of dirt from around the homes began in August 2012 and was finished in early 2013. Some byproducts of the gas plant, such as tar, were found deep in the soil. But nothing unexpected was found, nor did the amounts pose a threat to residents in the area because they were so deep in the ground, Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton said.

The homes are empty but will be sold in about a year. Duke Energy could have sold the homes immediately after the project was completed, but would have had to notify any homebuyer that the soil could be contaminated. The warning is mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and would have hindered the ability to sell the homes, Middleton said.

The groundwater will be tested for two years before Duke Energy will sell the houses, but the utility will still have to tell buyers the site had been contaminated but has tested clean for two years. The testing began in June, so the utility plans to try to sell the homes next summer, Middleton said.

Property managers make regular visits to the homes, which were winterized and heated, Middleton said.

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