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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