You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Tremont City landfill cleanup plan questioned

State official says federal plan unlike any other Superfund site.

A key scientist with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Monday he can’t find another site in the nation that’s been cleaned up the way the federal government is now proposing to clean up a toxic waste dump near Springfield’s water supply.

The U.S. EPA would remove liquid waste but leave behind solid waste at the Tremont City Barrel Fill — a turnabout that has officials and residents concerned that the aquifer that serves as the sole source of water for 82,000 people would still be at risk of contamination.

Mark Allen, of the Ohio EPA, told the Springfield Rotary Club there’s no precedent for what the U.S. EPA wants to do at the Clark County site designated a Superfund Alternative Site.

The federal government would, in a sense, use the Tremont City site to establish the precedent, he said.

“They want to be able to point at this site and say, ‘We’ve done it here before,’” Allen said.

Between 1976 and 1979, about 51,500 drums and 300,000 gallons of industrial waste were disposed of within an 8.5-acre section of a closed, unlined Tremont City landfill.

The U.S. EPA in 2010 released a plan to permanently remove all hazardous waste from the site, a move that apparently seemed to satisfy most groups involved except Waste Management, the company that’s on the hook for half of the site’s cleanup.

During the public commenting period for the plan, Waste Management submitted two new proposals for the site, Allen said, and the U.S. EPA adopted one of them.

The controversial new plan, released in 2011, removes only liquid waste, crushing and reburying empty drums and solid hazardous waste onsite in a lined landfill.

“The bad stuff remains, and we are sitting ducks,” said Marilyn Welker, president of the citizens group People for Safe Water, who attended Monday’s program.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, who represents Clark County in Congress, this year questioned the new U.S. EPA plan.

That revised plan could cost $28 million, a far cry from the estimated $56 million price tag attached to the original remedy — which itself was exaggerated, according to Allen.

“The remedy the community favors shouldn’t cost as much as it is currently being advertised,” he said.

Allen, who’s twice pitched the state’s position of a permanent fix for Tremont City to the U.S. EPA’s National Remedy Review Board, cited the cleanup of the much messier Valleycrest Landfill in Dayton, which he portrayed as the Wild West of toxic dumping grounds in the early 1970s.

An EPA Superfund site where drums were dumped and haphazardly thrown in, Valleycrest was finally cleaned up in 2002 for $33 million, he said.

Many of the barrels at Tremont City, which initially were lowered into the ground one by one, have yet to rupture, he said.

“We need to resolve cost issues,” Allen said.

While the U.S. EPA has rendered its decision final, work is far from starting and more soil samples were taken this year, according to Welker, suggesting an internal debate at the federal level.

“We are what we drink,” she said. “If we’re drinking chemicals, we’re being polluted.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Bush, Clinton wrote warm letters to successors
Bush, Clinton wrote warm letters to successors

It’s a tradition that an outgoing president will leave a letter behind for the new commander-in-chief. The letters are usually filled with best wishes and even some advice. The National Archives recently released the letters that former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wrote to the successors, according to ABC News and Politico. The...
White House had ghostly look on Obama's final night
White House had ghostly look on Obama's final night

Desks were emptied and staff moved out as the outgoing staff made way for the staff of Donald Trump, who was inaugurated on Friday.
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5
'House of Cards' will 'Bring the Terror' in Season 5

As the nation watched Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th president, Frank Underwood already was planning ahead. Netflix released a teaser Friday for the fifth season of its presidential drama, "House of Cards." Underwood, the crafty politician played by Kevin Spacey, will return to action on May 30, Netflix announced.   The teaser...
Ohio key battleground in abortion fight
Ohio key battleground in abortion fight

Ohio is at the frontline in a battle over abortion rights that continues to rage on 44 years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe versus Wade . “I would argue, and we have the data to back this up, that Ohio and Texas are the key battleground states for the abortion debate. What happens in Ohio tends to trickle to other...
Unseasonable warm weekend, rain chances increasing
Unseasonable warm weekend, rain chances increasing

Some patchy fog in spots early Saturday morning Highs near 60 degrees this weekend Rain chances increase Sunday into Monday The end to spring-like temperatures mid-week TODAY: Patchy fog early with temperatures falling into the 40s. Mostly cloudy skies with peaks of sunshine. Breezy and mild. Highs near 60 degrees. TONIGHT: Chance of passing...
More Stories