Clark County Leaders, Ohio Representatives and Senators, community business leaders, and representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency met on January 23 to discuss the cleanup of the Tremont Landfill.

Cleanup discussions began in October 2002 when Region 5 of the US Environmental Protection Agency entered into an agreement with Responsible Environmental Solutions Alliance (RESA), who represented the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) who had dumped hazardous materials at the site. RESA hired consulting companies to investigate the geology and hydrogeology at the site, to suggest solutions for cleanup of the site.

In July 2008, a report was submitted that included several alternatives for cleaning up the site ranging from doing nothing to removal of all the material and treat the contaminated soil at the site. After several iterations of discussions by the Ohio EPA and the US EPA, the US EPA announced they are supporting Plan 4a, which would remove all of the hazardous material from the site and released the document for public discussion in June 2010.

In October 2010, Waste Management, which is responsible for 55% of the cleanup costs, presented the US EPA with Plan 9a, which proposed that much of the material remain at the site protected by a slurry wall. In June 2011, the US EPA recommended to Clark County that they adopt Plan 9a. However, county residents objected to the plan because it left some untreated and highly toxic hazardous wastes at the site. Contaminants could still migrate through the soil and contaminate the water with serious consequences to the Springfield Well Field and the Mad River Aquifer.

In June 2016, The Army Corps of Engineers recommended that a double wall replace the originally proposed slurry wall and the addition of a stabilizing agent to the wastes to the cells that would remain under Plan 9a. However, a stabilizing agent is not effective for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

In addition, Tetra Tech, which provide consulting, engineering and technical services, conducted an independent study that recommended the removal of 997 barrels that contain VOCs, because of the high mobility and toxicity of the chemicals.

Community Leader Marilyn Welker from People for Safe Water asked the group to consider including the modifications from the two studies to the existing Plan 9a to address the group’s concerns and to place the site on the National Priority List (NPL) for Superfund Cleanup to ensure accountability, oversite, and cleanup to the site.

Clark County Combined Health District Commissioner Charles Patterson agreed with Welker’s proposal and added, “I want the Ohio EPA to oversee the project. I want the ones with the boots on the ground to be our folks. They have our highest level of trust.” Ohio Representative Kyle Kohler commented, “We as a community are happy with Plan 9a with the requested modifications.”

Commissioner Richard Lohnes agreed, “I am in agreement with placing the site on the NPL.”

Kohler asked, “What if more barrels are found that meet the qualifications for the 997 that Tetra Techs reported. Their information seems insufficient to rank the barrels. We have very little information but if we do what the EPA says and we find more. What happens then? I want the same standards applied to every barrel in the land fill.”

Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler agreed, “We have to have a contingency plan in place to take out material if there are more than 997.”

Patterson added “Tetra Tech found barrels at multiple levels in 14 different cells. They counted specific cells in multiple locations that were labeled still bottom. However, some barrels may not be labeled still bottom but contain the same hazardous materials.

Butler said, “We need to have a strategy for getting back to the US EPA. We need to get answers from the US EPA on several questions including what we do if other materials that are just as hazardous are found. We need to determine if being listing on the NPL helps or hurts us.”

The group agreed that they would create a list of discussion points to talk with the US EPA.

Butler advised, “Stay engaged.”

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