Local residents were apparently not satisfied with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's latest recommendations for cleanup of the former Cytec Industries site off Greene Street in Marietta.
More than 40 people attended an informational session and public hearing at the Lafayette Hotel Monday on a proposed modification to the draft permit allowing Cytec to proceed with ongoing clean up of industrial waste at the 54-acre site.
The major area of concern continues to be the north landfill at the upper end of the abandoned property.
"It's essentially a valley full of 28,000 cubic yards of waste," Eric Fitch, director of the environmental science program at Marietta College, said of the landfill following Monday's meeting.
Earlier Fitch asked Ohio EPA's John Rochotte with the Division of Materials and Waste Management if it would be accurate to say the agency does not have a complete list of what chemicals are buried in the north landfill.
"That would be accurate," Rochotte answered, but noted the primary chemical showing up in testing of soil at the landfill site is chlorobenzene.
To submit public comments on the proposed Cytec site cleanup:
- Information about the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency draft permit modification proposal is available online at www.epa.ohio.gov/dmwm by going to "Stakeholder Input" on the lower right-hand side of the screen and clicking "Read More."
- Written comments will be accepted through July 28.
- Anyone may submit written comments or request to be placed on a mailing list by emailing DMWMcomments@epa.state.oh.us or writing to Ohio EPA, Division of Materials and Waste Management, Processing and Records Management Unit, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049.
Source: Ohio EPA.
"We're not seeing new chemicals (in the tests), just the same four or five that have been the case for many years now," he added. "And the highest area of contamination is at the southeast corner (of the landfill). But we don't exactly know all that's in there."
Rochotte said test borings of the landfill have reached a depth of 35 feet, but the bedrock bottom of the landfill is probably around 45 or 50 feet deep.
Ken Strahler, who owns property along Hunter Avenue between the Cytec property and Duck Creek, said at the end of Monday's meeting that a former Cytec employee told him that 20,000 barrels of chemicals were buried in the landfill when the company was in operation.
Cytec ceased manufacturing at the site in the mid-1990s.
Ben Reed with Ohio EPA's Division of Ground Water, admitted he would not be surprised if there were barrels of chemicals buried deep in the landfill.
According to the agenda for Monday's meeting, the agency's proposed remedy for the landfill includes anchoring a clay wall into bedrock along the west and south sides to prevent ground water from flowing into the landfill, and adding more soil and plastic liners to the existing soil and clay cap.
Rochotte said an environmental covenant would be continued on the site, identifying that industrial waste remains on the property, forbidding future disturbance of the landfill cap or other components without permission from the Ohio EPA, and restricting use of ground water at the site.
Monitoring would continue long-term to ensure the recommended remedies are working.
Other areas addressed in the draft permit modification would include stream and sediment monitoring of Duck Creek, excavation of contaminated soil at the property's east storage pad and continuation of a waste cap in an area where concrete tank saddles once stood on the site.
Approximate additional cost to Cytec for the proposed remedies would be more than $1 million.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Fitch said he could not agree with the Ohio EPA plan.
"We have too little information about the remaining materials inside the landfill for me to, in good conscience, approve of the recommended remedy," he said.
Fitch suggested that the agency go back to its original plan of removing all contaminated soils from the entire site, in addition to removing contaminated layers of silt on the bottom of Duck Creek. He said the site could then be backfilled with uncontaminated soil.
"The major issue at hand is the cleanup of the chemical dump on the Cytec property and the cleanup of Duck Creek from the Cytec site to the Ohio River," he said. "The responsible parties are known in this situation-Cytec Industries and the B.F. Goodrich Company (former occupants of the property).
"The responsible agencies in this situation are the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Environmental Protection Agency," Strahler added. "I expect the above-mentioned parties to complete the cleanup in a responsible and timely manner."
Former Cytec employee James Cline said many local residents are not aware of the health risks involved.
"I hope and pray, before you make a final decision on this cleanup, that you'll think about people's lives," he said.
Richard Wittberg, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department in Parkersburg, said Ohio EPA's proposal is not adequate.
"No company will want to use this site again," he said. "And there will come a day when the plastic and clay caps fail. Cytec may not be here then, and the Ohio EPA may not be here...but these materials will eventually get back into the environment."
On a personal note, Rochotte said he's received comments that Ohio EPA doesn't care about the problems at the Cytec site and just wants to get away from the issue.
"But I shop in this town and I have family here," he said. "We're not bureaucrats that don't care about you and your families. I would like to see all hazardous waste removed from every site. But we can't always get things done the way we would like."
Rochotte said he firmly believes that the agency's proposed remedies will provide protection from hazardous waste migrating off the site.