West Carrollton officials say a state crime lab is now in charge of the investigation into illegal dumping on city land proposed as a possible site for a regional athletic complex.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification will “take over the investigation from this point forward” regarding the dumping and burying of non-hazardous materials on parts of a 29-acre Hydraulic Road site near the Great Miami River, according to West Carrollton City Manager Brad Townsend.
BCI’s environmental enforcement unit and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency have been involved in the case since late February, shortly after the investigation began, said Kate Hanson, Ohio Attorney General’s Office public information officer.
Representatives of the lab under direction of the AG’s office met with city officials last week after they said the scope of the investigation had widened.
“The main reason” BCI’s help was sought “is because of their specialized expertise in environmental-based investigations,” Townsend stated in an email Monday.
“BCI simply has the expertise and resources that we do not possess locally,” the email stated.
The need to collect and keep evidence for the criminal investigation has hindered cleanup efforts. An initial citation in February giving West Carrollton 30 days to clean up site has been extended into July, Townsend indicated.
Townsend declined to comment further, referring further inquiries to BCI. This news organization has filed a public information request for city documents involving the investigation.
The site has been closed since February, when the city uncovered illegal materials buried on parts of the land it received from Appvion in 2014.
Public Health Dayton-Montgomery County cited the city in February. Shortly thereafter, West Carrollton began the process of collecting evidence, cleaning up and installing 24-hour surveillance devices on the property.
The cleanup was projected to cost between $350,000 and $700,000, city officials said. But Ohio Operating Engineers agreed to the work for fewer than $7,000, according to the city.
West Carrollton has been redeveloping the site – deeded for recreational use only - with “clean, hard fill,” items such as
asphalt, concrete, stone, brick, tile or block, local health officials said.
The site – coupled with nearby Montgomery County land - has been part of discussions with the Centerville United Soccer Association as a possible location for a complex for basketball, lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and winter guard competitions.