You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

$24M Clark County barrel fill clean-up plan may move forward


Local elected officials and community activists are now backing a new version of a clean-up plan at the Tremont City Barrel Fill site in northern Clark County.

After years of arguing over whether an extensive, $56 million cleanup plan will do the job, support is growing locally for a new plan that would cost an estimated $24 million

Community members and local leaders have long implored the U.S. EPA to remove all hazardous waste from the barrel fill — which they worry could seep into Springfield’s drinking water supply. Advocates for a full clean-up had a letter hand-delivered to President Barack Obama’s staff during his visit to the county in 2012.

The current U.S. EPA cleanup plan calls for digging up all of the barrels, taking out the ones with liquid waste and putting the barrels filled with solid waste back in place with the addition of a double liner and leak detection.

RELATED: Activists question cleanup costs of Clark County hazardous waste

The site was being addressed through the EPA’s Superfund Alternative program, but the EPA no longer considers the site to be a candidate for that program, according to the EPA’s website. The federal agency has asked Ohio to agree to place the site on the National Priorities List, which would allow it to become a Superfund site.

“Everybody wants to see this move forward and we know that there’s no way U.S. EPA will go back to (the original plan),” said Marilyn Welker, the president of People for Safe Water, a local activist group.

The barrel fill is an 8.5-acre section of a closed landfill that had been used for industrial waste barrels. It contains an estimated 1.5 million gallons of hazardous waste buried in the ground. If left in its current state, the site could be a risk to public health decades from now because the barrels could deteriorate and some of the chemicals leach into the groundwater, officials have said.

The federal EPA was expected to move forward with a $56 million plan, Alternative 4a, to remove all hazardous waste from the barrel fill. However, in 2011, the federal agency issued its final decision, the $28 million Alternative 9a, which called for barrels containing industrial waste to be dug up and then reburied on-site in a lined landfill. Officials and local citizens have fought for years to have the clean-up plan reverted back to Alternative 4a. Since that time, a modified version of Alternative 9a was estimated to cost about $24 million.

While there is disappointment within the activist group that the site may not see all the material removed, the group’s members want the liquid chemicals removed before it’s too late, Welker said.

“It’s not an option for that site to just sit there,” Welker said. “We need cooperation to get that site cleaned up. That’s the bottom line.”

People for Safe Water wants the site placed on the Priorities List because it will assure compliance, accountability and future monitoring, Welker said. It’s also possible the federal agency could enforce action against the potentially responsible parties, she said.

Local leaders met with state and federal Environmental Protection Agency leaders last month about possibly moving forward with the modified plan. The plan would also include installation of a double liner and a leak detection system.

“The momentum is there,” Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.

RELATED: County asks EPA to reevaluate Tremont City Barrel Fill

The U.S. EPA needs consensus from the community that it will accept the most recent plan with specific modifications, Lohnes said. Once that happens, local officials will meet with federal representatives about moving forward with the clean-up, he said.

“They’re not going to move on unless we agree with what the plan is,” Lohnes said.

Questions remain about the modified plan moving forward, Welker said, including additional measures to the cleanup plan outlined by recent studies of the site.

A $10,000 report completed last year by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluate additional cleanup measures at the site recommended adding a stabilizing agent to hazardous wastes reburied in the lined barrel fill at a cost of about $1.5 million.

Another report completed in October by U.S. EPA consultant Tetra Tech recommended removal of nearly 1,000 barrels, described as “the worst of the worst.”

“We don’t know that both will be included,” Welker said.

The activist group seeks permanent removal of certain barrels containing the most mobile and toxic chemicals. They’re currently drafting a letter of questions for Chicago-based project manager Jim Saric.

“We are wanting there to be much more specificity regarding volatile organic compounds,” Welker said.

The barrel fill has been a problem in the community since she was 3 years old, County Commissioner Melanie Flax-Wilt said.

“I’m glad to see us making progress towards a resolution,” she said.

MORE: Community wants Tremont Barrel Fill waste gone

Some local leaders had concerns about how being placed on the NPL could affect local economic development, but county commissioners said the barrel fill has been an issue for some time.

“It’s a deterrent for businesses at some level anyway,” Flax-Wilt said. “Solving it is not going to make things worse for attracting and retaining jobs here and that’s what we need to do.”

The Chamber of Greater Springfield had concerns about being placed on the NPL in the past, President and CEO Mike McDorman said, but now agree the site must be cleaned up.

“We just want to get it done,” McDorman said. “We need to address it now and we’re in concert with (People for Safe Water).”

County commissioner Lowell McGlothin still wants to see all of the materials entirely removed from the barrel fill and placed somewhere else, he said.

“Let’s hope that that could happen,” he said. “We need to keep at it. Hopefully, we can go forward and get it resolved in the near future, not 20 years down the road.”

FIVE NEWS-SUN MUST READS

Historic downtown Springfield site may become year-round marketplace

Rash of overdoses in Springfield strains resources

Clark County, Humane Society negotiating $80K deal to keep dogs here

Special report: Healthy Springfield

Hidden camera video reveals details in Logan County shooting death



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

What Hamilton is doing to attract more diverse employees
What Hamilton is doing to attract more diverse employees

Hamilton’s Diversity & Inclusion Commission and city government is embarking on a variety of programs to help lure minorities and women as employees, and also to mentor them so they elevate through the ranks. There’s work to be done, says Boyce Swift, who holds the newly created position of diversity and inclusion coordinator within the...
Border Patrol union takes center stage under Trump
Border Patrol union takes center stage under Trump

Once a week, union leaders representing U.S. Border Patrol agents host a radio show from a sleepy office park near San Diego, where studio walls are covered with an 8-by-12-foot American flag and portraits of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.  For about an hour, the agents mix discussions about border security with shoptalk...
4 people say they are eyeing Wes Retherford’s Statehouse seat
4 people say they are eyeing Wes Retherford’s Statehouse seat

At least four people have told the Journal-News they are interested in the Ohio House 51st District seat if State Rep. Wes Retherford steps down — either voluntarily or by statute if he’s convicted of a felony. Retherford was found at 3:23 a.m. March 12 allegedly passed out drunk in the driver’s seat of idling pickup truck in a McDonald&rsquo...
Trumps plot big hotel expansion, but political problems loom
Trumps plot big hotel expansion, but political problems loom

The Trump family is launching a new hotel chain in a bold expansion of a company that critics say is already too big and opaque for an enterprise whose owner sits in the Oval Office.  The chain, called Scion, will feature the first Trump-run hotels not to bear the family's gilded name. The hotels will feature modern, sleek interiors and communal...
UN's peacekeepers face new peril in Trump's push to cut budget
UN's peacekeepers face new peril in Trump's push to cut budget

At her January confirmation hearing to become ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley caused a stir among diplomats when she said she'd consider slashing U.S. funding for one of the international body's most potent symbols: the U.N. peacekeeping force. For decades, the blue-helmeted troops have been sent to preserve uneasy truces and keep violence...
More Stories