EPA help sought to clean up toxic chemicals on land near river

Health officials closed the site at 4000 Hydraulic Road in West Carrollton in early 2016 after they said illegal dumping of non-hazardous materials were found. The city of West Carrollton now plans to see EPA funds to redevelop the site. FILE

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Health officials closed the site at 4000 Hydraulic Road in West Carrollton in early 2016 after they said illegal dumping of non-hazardous materials were found. The city of West Carrollton now plans to see EPA funds to redevelop the site. FILE

The cleanup of toxic chemicals is the focus of a Brownfield grant West Carrollton is seeking for land the city wants to redevelop near the Great Miami River.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls, or PCBs, have been buried on a section of about 30 acres on West Carrollton-owned land on Hydraulic Road since the property was deeded to it from Appvion in 2015, said Mike Lucking, city economic development director.

The land – earmarked for recreational use – is also the site of illegal dumping charges in a criminal case against a prominent Dayton area businessman.

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But Lucking said an application to seek $200,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has nothing to with illegally dumped items uncovered in 2016 that are linked to charges against Steve Rauch, one of his managers and three of his businesses.

The PCBs are “in isolated spots within a confined area” on the southern part of the land in “trenches” and are as deep as about 20 feet underground, Lucking said.

A West Carrollton consultant, MAKSolve, tested the site and sent the U.S. EPA requested information and “nothing significant was found,” city records show.

If approved by the EPA, the grant would fund work “to access what is necessary…. and tell us what we need to do” to remove the PCBs, Lucking said.

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That would be the first step in the process, Lucking said. The second would be to seek more EPA funds remediate the land, he said.

PCBs are a group of man-made toxic chemicals that would pose a risk to communities if improperly managed and controlled, according to the U.S. EPA.

Banned in 1979, Lucking said PCBs were used in the production of carbon paper made by Appleton Paper, which became Appvion. The company deeded the city land occupied by Appvion’s waste water treatment plans with a caveat it be used for recreation purposes.

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The EPA works to ensure the safe cleanup and disposal of the chemical’s through its PCB Cleanup and Disposal Program.

That campaign “benefits communities by ensuring that sites contaminated with PCBs are cleaned up to reduce risks and by ensuring that materials contaminated with PCBs are safely managed and disposed of in landfills or destroyed in other types of waste management units,” according to the agency’s website.

Because of the land’s history with chemicals, Lucking said, the city’s “plan has always been to fill the (trenches), take the facilities and buildings off the site and put some type of cap” – such as turf – over it.

The city’s application should be filed by December with a decision by the EPA expected sometime in mid-2020, officials said.

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