Home Ohio EPA signs off on riverfront clean-up site
Ohio EPA signs off on riverfront clean-up site
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 12 March 2009 14:45

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has signed off on the clean-up of a 44-acre parcel on   Miami Street, granting the Maumee Riverfront Improvement Project a covenant not to sue.

The property, located at 1968 Miami Street, had been owned by the Pilkington North America and Libbey Owens Ford glassmaking companies.


The agency’s determination the parcel is suitable for redevelopment comes after the City of Toledo and River Road Redevelopment LLC, the current property owner, voluntarily assessed the property and then conducted a clean-up of the site where there were sand ponds that had been used until the 1970s for the disposal of wastewater from glassmaking operations. 

Other sections of the property were used for railroad operations and by the Toledo Sugar Beet Co. to discharge wastewater from its plant across the road.

An assessment of the site found soil contaminated with arsenic and ground water contaminated with arsenic, nickel, chromium, lead, and bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate above standards allowed for residential and commercial/industrial use.

The remediation has cleaned part of the property to a suitable level for commercial and industrial use and the EPA’s covenant will be attached to the property deed. It will limit that remediated section to commercial or industrial uses and prohibit the extraction of ground water except for monitoring of the water or in conjunction with construction or excavation activities.

Two feet of soil were removed as part of the clean-up in several areas and replaced by at least 2.5-feet of clean fill dirt. Portions were also re-graded to control erosion.

Another part of the property was cleaned to a standard that allows for residential and recreational use but residential construction will be limited to slab structures with no basements.

The city appropriated about $1.1 million for its share of the clean-up and the Ohio Department of Development, through the Clean Ohio Fund, approved another $3 million for the remediation.

Brad White, a Cincinnati and Dayton-area developer, formed River Road Development specifically for the project. He told The Press in 2006 the company envisioned mixed residential and commercial development, with most of the construction planned for the west side of I-75.

Cities helped
Low-interest loans to the cities of Toledo and Oregon will help them deal with water and sewer issues, the Ohio EPA says.

The agency has approved a $4.53-million loan to Oregon to help finance the construction of a 2-million gallon water storage tank and a trunk water line.

The elevated storage tank will be built along Lallendorf Road north of Seaman Road and will be linked by a 5,300-foot, 16-inch water line between Seaman and Navarre Avenue.

Construction of the tank will take about a year. Work on the water line is expected to begin in June and take about six months.

Total cost is about $6.07 million. The Ohio Public Works Commission and Northwest Water District are also providing funding.

The EPA is also providing a $1 million loan to Toledo to help finance a project designed to eliminate sewer overflows and basement flooding in the area of Delaware Creek.

Toledo constructed a wet weather storage basin, relief sewers and pump station in the River Road area in southwest Toledo in 2006 as part of a federal consent decree with the U.S. and federal EPAs.

Overflows from Delaware Creek continue during heavy storms because the overflow stations are shallow. The city plans to block off the Delaware Creek sewer overflows to force wastewater from this area upstream into the River Road basin.


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Sustainable Community Associates' Tainted, Titanic Wreck
posted by Mark Chesler, April 17, 2011

...In a June 26, 1994, Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled Environmentalists Leery of Possible Loopholes, Chris Trepal, co-director of the Earth Day Coalition in Northeast Ohio, lambasted the enabling VAP legislation as "one of the poorest public policy measures I’ve ever seen." A clairvoyant Richard Sahli, executive director of the Ohio Environmental Council, echoed his sentiment in the May 26,1994, Cincinnati Post, "We do predict there will be a lot of shoddy cleanups under this bill the state will never catch." Testifying before the House Energy & Natural Resources Committee on behalf of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, Cincinnati environmental lawyer David Altman asserted, "This bill is a definite bait-and-switch. What it is supposed to do and what it does is two different things."

A seminal, 152 page 2001 Gund Foundation funded study by the Green Environmental Council confirmed the critics’ predictions. A dearth of agency resources to provide meaningful regulatory oversight combined with the lack of a credible, established enforcement mechanism has rendered the feckless, industry aligned program toothless. "It’s a broken program - it doesn’t work," declared the council’s Bruce Cornett in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Both the Sierra Club and Ohio Citizen Action opposed the 2000 $400 million Clean Ohio state bond issue out of concern the fungible proceeds could be utilized to prop up the lame Voluntary Action Program and create a trojan horse polluters slush fund. "This is the governor's attempt to whitewash his EPA," charged Jane Forrest Redfern, environmental projects director for Ohio Citizen Action in a November 1, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer article. Dedicated professionals, veteran Ohio EPA bureaucrats attempted to rectify the problem. According to the October 4, 2000, Cleveland Plain Dealer, "EPA staffers who shared some of the environmentalists’ concerns, at one point launched a quiet but unsuccessful campaign to disband the program."

For six years after the Voluntary Action Program’s 1996 implementation, the U.S. EPA refused to extend program participants federal immunity and threatened to decertify the Ohio EPA due to the VAP’s expansive, inhibiting secrecy provisions and tangible lack of transparency. In a brokered, bifurcated modification to the Ohio VAP that "frankly doesn't make sense at all," according to Ohio Public Interest Research Group director Amy Simpson (Akron Beacon Journal, February 24, 2001), an alternative "memorandum of agreement" VAP track with enhanced public access was crafted. Companies that elect the original, opaque, "classic" option, which conceals under an embargo the extent and nature of contamination, will not be afforded U.S. EPA liability insulation. "Why Ohio would want a two-headed monster is beyond me," quipped the Ohio Environmental Council’s Jack Shaner. In SCA’s case, the jaundiced, green and incompliant wants to hide what you can’t see.

Mark Chesler
Oberlin, Ohio

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