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U.S. EPA says cleanup of Valleycrest Superfund site in Dayton is complete, city looking at new uses for the site

What used to be a gravel pit holding 43,000 drums worth of hazardous waste, is now a grassy field with new potential uses.
Adriana Martinez-Smiley
/
WYSO
What used to be a gravel pit holding 43,000 drums worth of hazardous waste, is now a grassy field with new potential uses.

Also known as the North Sanitary Landfill, this site has been observed by the federal agency for almost three decades. This milestone is the first step in the site’s return to potential and productive re-use, say EPA officials.

The U.S. EPA with the Ohio EPA, the City of Dayton and local partners announced the completion of the clean-up of the Valleycrest Superfund site in Dayton on Wednesday.

Also known as the North Sanitary Landfill, the site has been on the EPA’s National Priorities List since 1994.

The cleanup was deemed complete as of November 14, according to the U.S. EPA.

Federal, state and city officials came together to celebrate the milestone.

“I can assure the residents and workers in this area that you can live and work near the site without worrying about the potential health effects from things that were buried here,” Bonnie Buthker with the Ohio EPA’s Southwest District office said.

The site sits atop the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, which provides drinking water to 400,000 people.

Buthker said the site used to take hazardous waste such as solvents and toxic metals that is now prohibited from being disposed of in standard landfills.

RELATED: 'Some sort of restorative justice is very important to me,' says Dayton Sustainability Manager, Meg Maloney, on remediation of local Superfund sites

With stricter regulations since being put in place, the risk that this posed to human health and environment made remediation work a high priority, she said.

“When you talk about how many people [could be] affected, you have the residents that live in that surrounding community, those people. But this groundwater, this aquifer serves this entire region. Everybody here uses the well fields that are located near the site and will be impacted if this contamination got into the drinking water.”

Dayton City Commissioner Matt Joseph said the city is now looking at potential uses for the site now that it’s past the remediation stage.

Most recently, local residents have been keen on the installation of a solar panel array, he said.

I hope for a better future for this area, for the neighbors here and really for the city as a whole. We're all coming out of a lot of bad things together. And this is just another way and a huge step forward for both this neighborhood and for the city,”

Buthker said while the remediation of the site is considered complete, some of the waste is still stored underground.

Maintenance of the site will be ongoing to ensure remediation goes to plan.

Adriana Martinez-Smiley (she/they) is the Environment and Indigenous Affairs Reporter for WYSO. They grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2023. Before joining WYSO, her work has been featured in NHPR, WBEZ and WTTW.
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