The cleanup and criminal investigation of illegal dumping on West Carrollton land near the Great Miami River will take at least three months.
Evidence collection and the removal of items at property on Hydraulic Road may be done by the end of the month, a West Carrollton official said Tuesday.
Much of about 30 acres near the river was being properly filled as the city redeveloped it as a potential site for a regional athletic complex when earlier this year it discovered non-hazardous, illegal dumping and the site closed.
Crews have removed a “30-yard container” of items ”and they are picking through it by hand,” making for a time-consuming process, said Thomas Hut, supervisor of the bureau of special services for Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County.
Work is continuing this week, said Carl Enterman, West Carrollton’s chief code enforcement officer.
“We’re still removing evidence from the hole,” he said. “We’re still hoping that by the end of the month we’ll collect everything we need to collect and start moving forward with the rest of the investigation.”
The discovery in February of the illegal dumping prompted public health officials to order the cleanup of the site donated to the city by Appvion last year. The company stipulated the land be used for recreational purposes and the site has been eyed by a group looking to build a $12 million indoor/outdoor multi-use recreation complex.
The illegal dumping also led to the city increasing security on the land. Last month $45,000 was approved for upgrades, with most of the funds being spent on surveillance.
Several mattresses were among the construction and demolition debris crews have excavated, officials said. Those are among the illegal materials found and being contained to the site, Enterman said.
Ohio Operating Engineers, which has a West Carrollton location, is doing the work for $6,600, saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, City Manager Brad Townsend said.
Some of the materials removed are ”criminal related,” he said, while others are “clean, hard fill” such as block, brick and stone, Hut said.
“A lot of it is being contained on site while we’re sifting through it,” Enterman said. “It’s been excavated and now we’re sifting through and we’re collecting our evidence” related to criminal investigation.
City officials have declined to talk about many aspects of the criminal investigation. And when asked whether the cleanup or the investigation will take longer, Enterman said that “is a question that I’m not so sure I’m prepared to answer yet.”
He noted “it’ll be a somewhat lengthy process.”
“Once we collect all of the evidence and remove it from the site,” Enterman said, “then we’ll go back to public health, have them come back and re-inspect the site” and reopen it again.”
The security will allow the city to monitor the site 24 hours a day, Townsend said.