MARIETTA - Final measures to clean up and prevent hazardous waste from migrating off the Cytec Industries property north of Greene Street will soon be under way, according to action by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month.
After several years of review and public meetings, on Oct. 3 OEPA issued Cytec a final permit modification that includes remedies for cleanup of the industrial site.
But local officials and residents say those remedies won't adequately address the potential for further contamination of nearby Duck Creek and surrounding properties, nor will they make the former industrial site a suitable location for businesses in the future.
"Nobody in the county is satisfied with this. The EPA has completely ignored the local public input on this issue. And it's irresponsible to allow DDT and 28,000 cubic yards of chemical waste to remain on that site," said Ken Strahler who owns property along Hunter Avenue between the Cytec property and Duck Creek.
The remedies selected in Ohio EPA's final permit modification address the north landfill, east storage pad, concrete saddles and drainage swale on the Cytec property as well as potential runoff into Duck Creek. According to an agency news release:
A clay slurry wall would be anchored into bedrock along the landfill's west and south sides to prevent ground water from flowing in.
The existing soil/clay cap would be augmented (primarily along the east side) with additional soil and a synthetic liner.
A clay berm or equivalent barrier along the northeast portion of the landfill would protect against infiltration of water during flood events.
The release said those efforts and hydraulic control for ground water should expedite ground water cleanup at the site.
An additional environmental covenant would identify the area as having waste remaining in place; forbid the cap or its components from disturbance without Ohio EPA consent; and restrict ground water use.
The agency's remedies for the other areas include periodic stream and sediment monitoring in Duck Creek; excavation of contaminated soils at the east storage pad; and continuation of a waste cap in the concrete tank saddle area.
Based on recent soil sampling, the Ohio EPA believes no further action would be required at the drainage swale.
Once Cytec completes the required remediation work, the property will require long-term monitoring to make sure the selected remedies are working, according to OEPA spokesman Mike Settles.
"The issuance of this permit modification clears the way for the company to begin final remediation work at the site," he said. "Design for the north landfill remedy will be done over the winter, and actual work at the site will start during summer of 2013."
Settles said that work will continue through the end of 2013 and into 2014, followed by excavation of contamination at the east storage pad and any remaining work to be completed in 2015.
"The goal is to have all the selected remediation done in 2015, then begin long-term monitoring and maintenance of the site on a regularly scheduled basis," he said, noting that Cytec would conduct the monitoring and filing of regular reports.
Settles said this marks the end of a lengthy permitting process, but OEPA is not walking away from the issue.
"We understand some folks don't think this is the best remedy, but after months and years of meetings and reviews the agency believes this provides the best and most reasonable solution for the community and the company," he said.
The remedies selected in the permit modification are estimated to cost Cytec more than $1 million. Complete removal of all contamination and restoration of the property could cost around $13 million, according to information obtained by Strahler during a meeting of a local Cytec property focus group Monday night.
Last year Cytec engaged a consulting company, Ann Green Communications of Charleston, W.Va., to form the community focus group to help facilitate an ongoing dialogue with the company related to cleanup efforts at the site.
Marietta city engineer Joe Tucker is not a member of the focus group, but sat in on Monday's meeting at the Lafayette Hotel.
"I had written a two- to three-page letter that was submitted to Ohio EPA during a public meeting on this issue last July, saying we did not support these proposed remedies," he said. "This property is located within the city limits and there are thousands of barrels of toxic materials, including DDT-which doesn't break down in the environment-remaining on the site."
Tucker said there were also ponds on the industrial site where barrels of chemicals were dumped.
"They said they've cleaned out those ponds, but at least one of those impoundments was not cleared down to clean soil," he said.
Tucker said landfills at the site still contain metal barrels of chemicals buried in the ground.
"We know those barrels could decay over time and will eventually leak their contents into the ground," he said. "When they do, who's going to be responsible to clean it up? Will Cytec even be around then?"
An appeal of the permit modification issuance can be filed with the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) within 30 days of the final action, which would be Nov. 3.
In May 2011 Marietta's City Council considered an appeal of the OEPA's proposed final permit modification, but later abandoned the move when it was determined the cost would be $15,000 to $19,000 to file the appeal, and another $65,000 to $85,000 would be required to continue the process.