Vapor intrusion in Riverside neighborhood traced to Mullins Rubber

10:41 a.m. Thursday, March 3, 2016 Local

The source of the vapor intrusion in Riverside’s Valley Pike neighborhood has been traced back to Mullins Rubber Products and Mullins Land Co., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA announced it has reached an agreement with Mullins to conduct removal actions and pay for certain response costs for the site. The agreement, called an Administrative Order on Consent, outlines the following work that must be performed by Mullins:

The EPA and Ohio EPA also are currently evaluating the site for proposal to the National Priorities List in order to conduct comprehensive investigations.

NPL proposals are published in the Federal Register twice a year, typically in March and September, and are subject to a 60-day public comment period. Listing the site on the NPL would make it eligible for federal funding, if needed.

To date, more than 470 properties in the Valley Pike neighborhood have been sampled by the EPA for tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, and trichloroethylene, or TCE. Nearly 90 vapor abatement systems have been installed.

Since July 2013, EPA investigators have been sampling homes in the neighborhood. The contamination was moving southwest, parallel to Valley Pike, the EPA had said.

Bill Mullins Sr., president of Mullins Rubber, said in December 2013 he was “100 percent confident” his company was not the source.

In 2004, Mullins and his company paid a total of $500,000 — $450,000 in fines and $50,000 to Dayton Children’s Medical Center — for violating the Clean Air Act, according to EPA records.

Mullins said those fines were for “paperwork irregularities” and it is unrelated to the current investigation in Riverside.

The sampling and mitigation installation are at no cost to the homeowner. It costs the EPA $1,000 for the sampling and $5,000 to install the mitigation system. A mitigation system costs a homeowner about $75 a year in electric expenses.

The fan in the mitigation system comes with a five-year warranty, and the homeowner is responsible for any repairs once the warranty expires.

The drinking water is not affected by the site conditions, the EPA has said. The drinking water comes from the city of Dayton’s public water supply.

Health officials previously advised residents who have a private water well to no longer consume the water because there could be the potential of cross-contamination with home plumbing.

Vapor intrusion occurs when underground pollutants give off dangerous gases that can rise up through the soil and seep into buildings through foundation cracks and holes, causing unsafe indoor air pollution, according to the EPA.

Symptoms of breathing high levels of TCE and PCE include headaches; dizziness; liver, kidney and immune system issues; effects to reproductive and respiratory systems; nausea; cancer in animals and possibly humans; and, in some cases, death.