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Residents And Local Officials Challenge EPA's Plan To Clean Up Tremont City Landfill

Wayne Baker
Last year, several residents and public officials turned out for a rally to protest the EPA's current clean up plan for the Tremont City Barrel site

Residents and local officials in the village of Tremont City are challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio EPA over the cleanup of a landfill.  Clark County residents are voicing their opposition on a plan developed by the U.S. EPA to clean up nearly 300,000 gallons of industrial waste that has been buried at the Tremont City landfill Superfund site since the late 1970s.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan calls for re-burying some of the industrial waste at the Tremont Barrel Fill, but the Ohio EPA wanted all the waste removed. The U.S. EPA stated in 2010 that they would clean up the Tremont City landfill by removing all hazardous waste from the site for close to $55 million, but subsequently changed its plan to reduce those costs. The new remedy calls for reburying some of the waste and empty drums for $28 million.

Then, this past December, the Ohio EPA took water samples from 27 wells at the landfill for the first time in eight years. After seeing those results, Ohio EPA's Jeffrey Martin says the federal plan will be protective of human health and the environment.  That change of heart doesn't sit well with Marilyn Welker with the local group People for Safe Water.

"We're angry and we disagree vehemently that there's any connection between the test results of 27 wells taken on one day in December and a comment or a statement that says, 'well it looks like the US EPA's proposed remedy would be protective,'" she said. 

People for Safe Water and several local politicians have sent a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich asking him to support the removal of all hazardous waste from the Tremont City landfill. The potentially responsible parties expected to pay for the cleanup include Delphi, General Motors and Procter and Gamble.

The federal government is attempting to place the site on the National Priorities List this year, which would allow for federal and state money to be used to clean up the site.