MARIETTA - It's been seven months since a focus group was formed to help maintain an open dialogue between Cytec Industries and the local community about efforts to clean up the company's former Marietta industrial site.
Those who've participated say the monthly sessions have been informative but there are still concerns that some industrial waste could be left at the site when company remediation efforts are completed.
The cleanup of the 55-acre industrial site, being overseen by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, has been ongoing since Cytec closed its Marietta plant in 2002.
"They're doing a good job informing us about all aspects of the site, and the Ohio EPA has been quite amenable," said Eric Fitch, director of the environmental science program at Marietta College.
He said the agency is moving closer to making a final decision on remaining portions of a cleanup permit modification Ohio EPA approved in April 2011.
Fitch has attended most of the focus group meetings since they began last fall.
"We've mainly had discussions about the site and its history, and the group was given a tour of the site last month," he said.
Marietta resident and member of the local Friends of the Lower Muskingum group Marilyn Ortt said the tour went well.
"The company answered many questions, but I wanted to hear more about plans for a final clean-up of the site," she said. "I want to make sure there's a clear understanding of what they plan to do, and that those plans are acceptable to the community."
Ortt and Fitch agree that Cytec basically wants the Ohio EPA to allow the company to cap off the north landfill area of the site where an estimated 28,000 cubic yards of chemical waste have been buried.
"But that landfill is still on property near Duck Creek," Ortt said.
Chemicals, including DDT, have been found in the creek that passes the former Cytec site on its way to the Ohio River.
Ortt said a report on tests of Duck Creek's waters will be discussed during a focus group meeting later this summer.
Mary Green works with Ann Green Communications of Charleston, W.Va., the firm that Cytec engaged to help facilitate the ongoing dialogue about the site between the company and the Marietta community.
"We're still meeting on a regular basis," she said. "But we did not meet in the month of May because the meeting date fell on Memorial Day. And due to some shifting of public meeting dates by the Ohio EPA, we're still in the process of scheduling our next session."
Green said each meeting's agenda is dedicated to a topic of interest the focus group identifies during the previous month's session.
"If a topic generates a lot of interest, we may carry it over into the next month's meeting," she said. "And these meetings are open to the public. Cytec wants all questions to be brought to the table."