Bethel Twp. residents worried about possible contamination from tanks

A group of Bethel Twp. residents have spoken out to Clark County commissioners about environmental issues at the site of a former historic penny candy store that’s under redevelopment after underground storage tanks were found there earlier this month.

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But no gasoline tanks are believed to have been discovered at the site, according to the Clark County Combined Health District say.

On Feb. 1, the Ohio EPA was called to investigate a report from a resident that fuel tanks appeared to be leaking petroleum near several mobile homes at the site of a proposed Dollar General store at 5550 W. National Road. Ohio EPA went to the scene and found that at least 14 heating oil tanks had been excavated, according to a statement from the state agency. An above-ground storage tank also had leaked a small amount of heating oil to the ground, it said.

The site previously held about 28 mobile homes, said resident Gary Cox, who lives nearby on North Tecumseh Road. He and two other residents spoke to Clark County commissioners last week.

The site also previously used to be a gas station, he said. He’s concerned water might be contaminated on the site, which is located near an aquifer, Cox said.

“I’m concerned because those trailers have been there since the 1930s,” he said. “I’m concerned we won’t be notified (about the cleanup) as neighbors.”

Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes was working to provide more information to residents about the issue and if any rules were violated, he said.

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Local wells were tested for heating oil and gasoline in the ground water and nothing was found, Shaffer said.

The surface water clean-up is under the authority of the Ohio EPA, said Larry Shaffer, environmental health director at the Clark County Combined Health District.

No gasoline tanks are believed to have been found at the site, he said.

“The groundwater has proved to be safe and they’re continuing their efforts to make the surface water non-contaminated,” he said.

As of Feb. 13, the Ohio EPA was continuing to work with the property owner and Clark County health district on cleaning up the site, it said in a statement.

“Sampling from area wells (did not detect) potential contaminants associated with this incident,” the statement says. “Additional sampling of the soil and ground water is currently being conducted at the site. We anticipate additional water monitoring in the coming months.”

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A proposed plat amendment will be heard by the Clark County Planning Commission at 2 p.m. March 7 in conference room 151 of the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St. The property owner wants to add more than 1 acre of a nearby mobile home park into the proposed development at the corner lot, said Senior Planner Allan Neimayer of the Clark County Community Development Department.

Clark County commissioners also will hear the proposal because it deals with right-of-way issues, he said.

A rezoning for the proposed two-acre Dollar General store was approved by county commissioners in August by a 2-1 vote with the stipulation that the development perform a review of traffic and safety before it can proceed with construction. Clark County Commissioners Lowell McGlothin and Melanie Flax Wilt each voted in favor of the rezoning, while Lohnes voted against it.

The traffic study has yet to be completed by the applicant, McGlothin said. It will be reviewed by the Clark County Engineer’s Office before the plan is completed, Lohnes said.

“We just want to make sure it’s done right,” Cox said. “Protect us, OK?”

The site is the former Fort Tecumseh Olde Fashun Store, which closed in 2012. The zoning request was made by Nashville-based GBT Realty, which sought to develop a similar store in 2015. The developer told officials it could build the store on the one-acre property if the rezoning was denied but it would have been more expensive.


The rezoning for the store planned at the corner of West National and North Tecumseh roads was approved by both the Clark County Planning Commission and the Clark County Rural Zoning Commission in June.

If built, the West National Road location would be the 10th Dollar General in Clark County.

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