Low levels of contamination were found in monitoring wells the city installed last year in the right-of-way of the Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc., landfill, according to a final report issued by ARCADIS.
ARCADIS, Oregon’s consulting engineer, installed four monitoring wells to determine if harmful substances in Envirosafe’s historic landfills migrated off-site into the right-of-way along York Street, Old Millard Avenue and Otter Creek Road.
ARCADIS had previously informed the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that an investigation by Envirosafe was inadequate and that it should go off-site to look for potential migration of harmful substances, according to Brian O’Mara, an engineer and geologist from ARCADIS.
The investigation included an evaluation of whether landfill gas, oils, and contaminated groundwater are migrating from the historic landfills at the Envirosafe facility, he said.
“We did not find evidence of significant landfill gas, we did not find measurable oil, but we did find low levels of contaminated ground water in each of the four monitoring wells, which we completed as part of the investigation,” said O’Mara. “There were three wells completed along the northern side of York Street, and one additional well completed along Old Millard Avenue. The contaminants that we found were consistent with what had been found at the Enviroafe facility with the exception of several compounds that Enviroafe had not previously tested for. The concentrations of these compounds were relatively low. In all cases, they were below the laboratory reporting limit and also below the screening levels recommended by the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA. So the good news is we did not find highly contaminated ground water in the right-of-way. But we did find some contaminated groundwater in each of the wells that we installed. Our conclusion is that these compounds are coming from the historic landfill and they’re making their way off site into the right-of-way of these streets. We’re recommending that the Envirosafe facility and Ohio EPA continue to sample the wells we installed and expand their sampling program to look for other compounds we have found as part of the investigation.”
The findings are included in a six page report and 50 pages of documentation, said O’Mara.
“You said you found contaminants but at such levels they don’t constitute a hazard currently,” said Councilman Jerry Peach. “One of your recommendations is that Envirosafe should include the wells installed by ARCADIS in their semi-annual ground water monitoring program. Would it be your opinion that would be accomplished only directly through order of the Ohio EPA director?”
“We’re recommending new wells be installed as part of future monitoring,” said O’Mara. “One thing we want to stress to Ohio EPA is that this was not intended to be the end all and be all study at the site. We have limited funds. We installed four wells. There are other areas that could potentially show greater impacts. What we’re suggesting is that Ohio EPA force Envirosafe to adequately evaluate all the potential off-site migration pathways. There should be more study that is conducted.”
“There would be no way to force Ohio EPA to take over the monitoring” said Council President Mike Sheehy. “That would be something they would either decide to do on their own or not. And if they don’t, then would we then be required, if we wanted to, to pursue more monitoring and install additional wells?”
“From a technical perspective, we feel that additional study is required to completely evaluate this facility,” said O’Mara. “We’ve made that clear to the agency in the past. We’re going to share with them the finding of this report, which gives conclusive evidence that the compounds found that were on-site are now found off-site, only several feet away from the actual facility. The levels were relatively low, which is relatively good. But again we didn’t check everywhere along the facility. We’ll see how they respond and take it from there.”
O’Mara said they looked for methane, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide and oxygen, all of which are indicators of gases that are generated at old landfills.
“You’re recommending that we continue to monitor and maybe have a few more well locations, then?” asked Councilman James Seaman.
“We’re recommending that Ohio EPA require Envirosafe to do it. I thjnk it’s their obligation rather than continuing to spend your tax dollars,” said O’Mara.
Councilman Bill Myers asked O’Mara about the source of acetone.
“Acetone has been found in many locations in the landfill,” said O’Mara. “It is a solvent. It isn’t uncommon to find it in the landfill. There are also other sources that could be responsible for what we found. Acetone is used in laboratories that do the testing, so it’s commonly reported as a lab contaminant. It’s difficult to tell with the study we completed. But if you look at the data from the actual Envirosafe facility, you see significantly high concentrations of acetone, which is not uncommon for these historic landfills, which accepted a lot of industrial waste.”
The city’s Public Utilities and Environmental Committee last summer unanimously recommended to council that the city install its own monitoring wells in response to the Ohio EPA’s Notice of Violations to Envirosafe earlier in the year regarding leachate levels in Cell M, Envirosafe’s only active hazardous waste cell, and the inspections of the dewatering trenches and water line trench.