Springfield wants hazardous waste dump named a Superfund site

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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A local activist group is pushing for the Tremont City Barrel Fill site to be placed on the National Priorities List.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The city of Springfield wants the Tremont City Barrel Fill — which has 1.5 million gallons of hazardous waste near the city’s drinking water source — to be placed on the Superfund list to ensure federal action.

Springfield city commissioners unanimously passed a resolution two weeks ago backing a reduced $24 million clean-up plan two weeks ago at the closed dump that has industrial waste stored in buried barrels.

READ MORE: Tremont City barrel fill: What’s really going on?

Commissioners this week approved a change to that resolution urging that the site be placed on the National Priorities List — a list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for long-term clean-up paid for by the federal Superfund program.

“By making this request, you’re showing great foresight in protecting our water,” said Larry Ricketts of local activist group People for Safe Water. “Springfield residents should be proud of you taking this extra step.”

State officials have yet to support the U.S. EPA’s desire to place the Tremont City Barrel Fill on the National Priorities List, which would allow for federal and state money to be used for a cleanup. The U.S. EPA must have agreement from Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio EPA before the site can be listed on the NPL.

RELATED: Springfield leaders to vote on $24M hazardous waste dump clean-up plan

There are currently 38 sites in Ohio listed on the NPL, including the inactive New Carlisle Landfill at 715 North Dayton-Lakeview Road.

Ricketts encouraged local residents to call Kasich’s office in support of placing the site on the NPL.

The commission is unanimous in its support of placing the site on the priorities list, Mayor Warren Copeland said.

Local leaders and activists were told earlier this year to accept the modified cleanup of the hazardous waste dump they’ve long feared could seep into Springfield’s drinking water supply or risk nothing happening for years. Any leakage at the site could pose a risk to public health decades from now, officials have said.

The listing is an extra guarantee that the site will be cleaned up appropriately, Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

“If it’s on the NPL, there’s no backing out,” Patterson said. “It’s not going to be a negotiation with the potentially responsible parties, it’s basically an order.”

MORE: Springfield backs $24M hazardous dump cleanup near water source

The barrel fill, located at 3108 Snyder Domer Road about 3 miles northwest of Springfield, is an 8.5-acre section of a closed landfill that had been used for industrial waste barrels.

It contains an estimated 1.5 million gallons of hazardous waste buried in the ground.

If left in its current state, the site could be a risk to public health decades from now because the barrels could deteriorate and some of the chemicals leach into the area’s sole-source aquifer, which could affect the water of up to 80,000 people, officials have said.

The community has fought for decades to get a thorough cleanup. The barrels were buried at the 8.5-acre section of the closed landfill between 1976 and 1978.

The waste included glues, resins, paint sludge, paint scraps, soap, shampoo, detergent, asbestos, oils and other industrial compounds. Food industry sources also disposed of items such as margarine and corn syrup.

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Contaminants include elevated levels of volatile organic compounds, such as xylenes, ethylbenzene, toluene and methylene chloride. Metals such as chromium and arsenic were also detected in the liquid and solid waste.

Community members and local leaders have pushed the U.S. EPA to remove all hazardous waste from the site. The U.S. EPA was expected to move forward with a $56 million plan to remove all hazardous waste from the site.

However in 2011 the federal agency decided to pursue a $28 million plan that calls for barrels containing liquids to be removed and ones with solid waste to be dug up and then reburied on-site in a lined landfill.

Since then, a modified version of that cheaper plan was introduced and estimated to cost about $24 million. It also includes a double liner, leak detection system and possibly removing some of the barrels that include the worst chemicals.

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By the Numbers

1.5 million: Gallons of hazardous waste stored in barrels buried underground at the Tremont City Barrel Fill, an 8.5-acre site in northern Clark County.

$56 million: Cost of clean-up plan Alternative 4a, which would remove all hazardous waste from the site.

$24 million: Cost of clean-up modified plan Alternative 9a, the U.S. EPA's selected plan that includes digging up barrels, extracting the liquid waste and reburying the solid waste on site in a double-lined landfill.

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has written extensively about the proposed cleanup plan for the Tremont City Barrel Fill since it was first introduced in 2011, including stories digging into the costs and why local activists want all the hazardous waste removed.

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