The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Questions submitted regarding Ohio EPA cleanup plan 8.26.09

Written by David Green.

The comment period ended earlier this month for those responding to the Ohio EPA’s preferred clean-up plan for contamination from the former Fayette Tubular Products site.

The Ohio EPA will provide written responses at some time in the future before moving on to the next step.

Among the comments and questions sent to the agency were several from the Village of Fayette office and from the Fayette Area Chamber of Commerce.

CATCH BASINS—A primary concern from the village related to extremely high levels of contaminants found in catch basins on the former Fayette Tubular Products property and also along a village street just west of the industrial site.

In addition, village workers recently observed ground water contaminated with  a substance while they were repairing a sewer line at Railroad and Gamber streets.

With documented and observed contamination, the Village asks how the EPA’s preferred plan addresses contamination adjacent to and within the village sewer system. Also, what measures are proposed to guard the health and welfare of village workers?

In addition, the agency is asked what evaluations were made during the investigative phase of the cleanup to eliminate the sewer system as a pathway for contaminants.

PROPERTY TO THE WEST—Another off-site concern focuses on contamination that was discovered in shallow ground water west of the factory.

The source of the contaminant was never identified and cleanup of this area is not included in the preferred plan.

The Village is seeking information on the Ohio EPA’s studies to determine the source. The Village also asked if the agency has tried to determine if there is any relationship between the sewer system—both on and off the factory site—and the contamination to the west.

In addition, questions were asked about the lack of standard contamination levels applied to the pollutants to the west, how the contamination is being monitored to ensure the safety of residents, and what type of restrictions, if any, will be put in place for use of the property.

WELL FIELD—The village expressed concern about monitoring vinyl chloride concentrations in the village’s old well field that is no longer in use. A question was also asked about the possibility of shallow ground water contamination reaching the former well field.

The source of that contamination was never discovered and recent data shows that it is still present.

ASSUMING—In the agency’s preferred plan, the phrase “it is assumed” is used occasionally in describing clean-up methods. The Village asks, “How confident is the Ohio EPA that the selected remedial alternative will be effective at reducing contamination to acceptable levels?”

ATTENUATION—The preferred plan lists “natural attenuation” as a clean-up method—allowing the contaminants to break down naturally over time.

In one alternative, 300 years is listed as the period of attenuation needed for shallow ground water to reach acceptable levels. However, the alternative chosen by the agency—the preferred plan—doesn’t mention an anticipated timeframe.

Additional questions address the possibility of contaminants moving underneath the existing trench that collects contaminated ground water, and concerns about continued monitoring of the plume of contamination as it continues to slowly move beyond the former school site.

CHAMBER—Questions submitted by the Chamber of Commerce include concerns about the property used by the Village for the park and the water treatment plant, as well as property downgradient from the plume but outside the village. The agency is asked if “institutional controls” governing use of the land are anticipated as the plume of contamination continues to move.

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