Open dump near Dayton school attracts pests carrying West Nile

The Ohio EPA wants to clean up an open dump near Kiser Elementary School that has had issues with mosquitoes, some of which tested positive for the West Nile virus, the agency said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Ohio Controlling Board to approve a $500,000 appropriation to remove waste from a property at 1227 Deeds Ave. in Old North Dayton.

Quality Farms, the former property owner, accepted beer, wine and soft drink products that were expired, mislabeled or produced incorrectly, the agency said.

RELATED: State reports first West Nile case in southwest Ohio man

Quality Farms sought to provide recycling services for the beverage industry, turning wine and beer waste into bio fuel or animal feed, according to city and state officials.

But the products, which were stockpiled outside and in trailers and a warehouse, were not processed and recycled in compliance with environmental laws and local health code regulations, the EPA said.

There are more than 5,000 tons of beverages piled up on 4.5 acres, which Quality Farms was supposed to — but did not — recycle, said Heidi Griesmer, Ohio EPA’s deputy director of communication.

“This project is a public-private partnership to resolve an eyesore and nuisance in Dayton,” she said.

The beverage industry, the private partners, will contribute $160,000 to the site cleanup.

This includes the Ohio Soft Drink Association and its members, the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio and its members, along with MillerCoors and Anheuser Busch, the EPA said.

The Ohio EPA has asked for the authority to approve a contract with Rumpke to clean up the site, which is expected to cost about $432,815, state documents show.

The new property owner, Good Deeds Recycling, lacks funds to remediate conditions at the site, which need to be abated soon before materials start to freeze, causing containers to burst, according to the EPA.

Quality Farms bought the property from American Lubricants Co. in 2013.

The company sold the property to Good Deeds Recycling in June for about $395,000, according to Montgomery County real estate records.

Attempts to locate and contact the owner of Quality Farms were unsuccessful. Good Deeds did not immediately return a request for comment.

Beverage companies used the site as part of “green” efforts to recycle beverage containers and the liquids inside, Griesmer said.

But though companies paid for the recycling service, their materials and liquids were never recycled, she said. However, the companies have voluntarily decided to contribute to assist in the clean up.

One issue is that plastic tanks containing the beverages were rupturuing and the liquid was flowing into the storm sewers, state and local officials said.

“They had beer, wine coolers — sticky, stinky stuff,” said Mary Faulkner, senior economic development specialist with the city of Dayton. “It’s not like it was oils and hazardous materials, it’s just nasty.”

MORE: Ohio man dies from West Nile virus

In September, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County learned about standing water issues at the facility that were attracting mosquitoes, said Tom Hut, public health’s supervisor of the special services.

The facility was issued a notice of violation, and public health treated standing water on the property with insecticide, Hut said.

Some mosquitoes caught in traps on the property tested positive for West Nile. More than 70 mosquito pools collected across the county this year have tested positive for the virus, Hut said. There has been no confirmed cases of West Nile in the county this year.

Though West Nile virus for the most part causes mild symptoms in children and adults, it is a public health concern, Hut said.

The EPA also says it is reviewing legal options to seek penalties for the problems at the site and try to recover clean-up costs. The Ohio Controlling Board will consider the request at its next meeting on Dec. 4.

MORE: Costly metal thefts continue to plague Ohio

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