Newly married and looking for a home close enough for a Chicago commute, Cathi and Alan Murray were excited and happy when they discovered the Town of Pines, Indiana. The town of about 700 people abuts the Indiana Dunes just outside Michigan City.
They bought a light blue, ranch-style home with a spacious yard big enough to hold the family’s flowers and bird feeders. Soon after, Cathi gave birth to two daughters. The family’s future looked bright.
That was in 1990. Ten years later, their cozy life was shattered when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered chemicals from a nearby coal ash landfill in the town’s well water. The landfill, the site of more than 1 million tons of byproduct from a plant burning coal for electricity, was leaching heavy metals into the ground.
Residents of The Pines — as the town is known — including the Murrays and their girls, were drinking poisonous water.