US EPA updates our community on the Tremont City Barrel Fill
On November 29th, People for Safe Water representatives participated in a morning meeting with Clark County leaders and US EPA staff Jim Saric, Project Manager, and Sue Pastor, Community Involvement Coordinator for the Tremont City Barrel Fill site. At an evening meeting, more questions and answers were shared. Here are highlights of what we learned.
What we learned
Next steps for the site include developing the legal agreement between US EPA and the responsible corporations, known as the Consent Decree. Following that, a “pre-design investigation” will take place, probably wrapping up in Summer 2020. Actual site clean-up is projected to begin Fall 2020.
Keep reading for a more detailed explanation. Complete meeting notes are here…
- A document called “Explanation of Significant Differences” describes the changes to the Barrel Fill clean-up as agreed to by the community. The revised clean-up plan includes the addition of a second liner and leachate collection system, removal of the slurry wall, and removal of 997 barrels containing still bottoms. A final signed version of this document is expected by the end of January 2018.
When asked what would happen if more than 997 barrels are found to contain still bottoms or other highly toxic chemicals, Jim Saric replied that the contaminated barrels will stay on site. However, all liquids will be permanently removed from the site.
- Following the Explanation of Significant Differences, the Consent Decree will be negotiated between US EPA and the responsible corporations (PRPs). This could conclude by December 2018. A thirty-day public comment period will follow the finalized Consent Decree.
When asked what our community can do to keep the Consent Decree negotiations moving forward, Jim Saric replied “I’ll think about that.”
- The next step, known as “Pre-Design Investigation,” will include site sampling, further testing, and writing the Quality Assurance Plan, which will describe specific procedures for site clean-up. This is expected to take a year and a half, suggesting the actual site clean-up will begin in Fall 2020.
When asked whether groundwater and area wells immediately surrounding the site will be monitored during the cleanup, Jim Saric replied, “At this time that is not expected to be part of the design, but maybe we can explore that further.”
- Once clean-up begins, US EPA and Ohio EPA will provide oversight of the operations. Health Commissioner Charlie Patterson requested that at least one Health District staff member also be involved in oversight. Additionally, citizens have the possibly of hiring a person to provide technical assistance to better understand reports, data, test results, etc.
When asked who is responsible for long-term monitoring costs at the site and what will happen if the remedy is not protecting our water, Jim Saric replied, “The [responsible corporations] are required to have insurance for long-term financial assurance of the site’s protectiveness, and they would be required to pay for any needed remediation. The US EPA monitors the site every five years in perpetuity.”
Once again, through participation and clear intent expressed in these meetings, the people of Clark County reinforced our commitment to protect our water with our EPA officials. Many thanks to each and every one of you who has raised your voice and contributed to our collective efforts to protect and preserve our incredible water supply!
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In a meeting with Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler, we learned that Governor Kasich will not concur with EPA Region 5 proposing the Tremont City Barrel Fill to the National Priorities List (NPL). Instead, Dir. Butler has written a letter to US EPA Region 5, stating our community’s acceptance of modified plan 9a. This means the Barrel Fill will remain a Superfund Alternative Site.
The Clark County Commissioners, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, Senator Bob Hackett, and Representatives Kyle Koehler and Bill Dean all sent letters of support to move forward with modified 9a.
The Clark County Combined Health District, Springfield Commissioners, German Township Trustees, and People for Safe Water all passed resolutions supporting modified 9a and, additionally, supporting Governor Kasich’s concurrence with EPA proposing the site to the NPL. These letters and resolutions were presented to Dir. Butler on August 16th, and they are available below:
Despite these strong statements of support, Director Butler stated unequivocally in the meeting that the State will not support the NPL listing, believing that we are assured of the same level of a protective cleanup without it. We know that the responsible corporations have expressed their willingness to negotiate the cleanup, and that they also prefer that the site not be on the NPL.
Without getting into all the pro’s and con’s of a NPL listing, we feel very strongly that without the NPL listing we will need to be even more vigilant in ensuring our community’s participation in the cleanup process.
The enforcement authority of the EPA is stronger with an NPL listing. If that authority becomes necessary at some point, the NPL listing process could proceed.
The People’s Task Force: Recommendations for the Future of Superfund
In response to the creation of a Superfund Task Force by new U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, People for Safe Water has signed on to The People’s Task Force. Sponsored by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, a list of recommendations on the future of Superfund demands that public health, and not private interests or money, be the priority of Superfund. Read more below:
Please visit our Timeline to read more about the progress of this Superfund Alternative Site in Clark County, Ohio.
Call your elected officials today and tell them we need their support for the safety of our drinking water for this generation and beyond!
Senator Sherrod Brown: (614) 469-2083
Senator Rob Portman: (614) 469-6774
Congressman Warren Davidson: (937) 322-1120
To protect the purity of the water for the people and businesses of Springfield and Clark County, Ohio, by advocating for a safe and effective clean up of the Tremont Barrel Fill Superfund Alternative Site in northwestern Clark County. The Barrel Fill site contains 51,500 55-gallon drums of chemical waste in German Township, deposited there in the late 1970’s.
Our group began in April 2012, when citizens learned about the presence of the site in the northwest corner of Clark County. A long-standing local organization, CF Water, who had worked for a safe cleanup plan for the site, had decided to cease operations, leaving no organized citizens’ voice to advocate for a safer plan.
This video is a production of Springfield5, government-access television, and Award Productions.
The sole source aquifer for 82,000 people, primarily Clark County residents and businesses, is at risk of contamination from hazardous wastes buried at the Site. The 51,000+ barrels contain hazardous and industrial wastes that have been buried in unlined pits for more than 35 years.
Nine corporations are responsible for clean-up costs. They are known as the PotentiallyResponsible Parties (PRPs). Eight of them sued the ninth corporation, Chemical Waste Management (CWM), who had challenged its status as one of the PRPs. A federal court ruled that CWM is a PRP and will be responsible for 55% of the cleanup costs.
The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) original plan (June 2010), which was acceptable to all affected parties, would have adequately addressed the site’s cleanup. We believe that US EPA’s adoption of the subsequent plan (June 2011) threatens the future quality of our water supply upon which the people and economy of the entire region depend.