Ohio EPA spends $6 million on Cleveland dump site cleanup

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending $6 million to clean up a construction and demolition (C&D) debris dump site in Cleveland. The Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Board of Health declared the site a nuisance in March.

The four-story site located at the former Arco Recycling property includes concrete, dirt, lumber and other material gathered from previous home demolitions and has been sitting for three years, according to reports. Ohio EPA says the site will be cleaned up in 10 months with dump trucks carrying away loads every six minutes.

Arco Recycling received a permit to operate a C&D recycling facility on the property in 2013. It provided jobs and recycled materials for a period before residents realized debris continued to be dumped at the site but was not being processed. Locals complained to the city, county and Ohio EPA about dust, noise and the dumped materials.

Ohio EPA announced the site was an open dump in January after visiting the area and issued a noticed of violation and orders to Arco to stop accepting materials and remove the debris piles. Arco stopped accepting debris at the site and appealed the orders to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission.

Ohio EPA says it put this site at high priority due to its close proximity to homes. Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls, Ohio), introduced a measure in the upcoming budget to transfer $6 million from an Ohio EPA litter prevention fund for cleanup.

EPA creates Superfund task force

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the creation of a Superfund task force May 22. The task force was to provide recommendations within 30 days on how the EPA can streamline and improve the Superfund program, including restructuring and expediting the cleanup process, reducing the burden on cooperating parties, incentivizing parties to remediate sites, encouraging private investment in cleanups and sites and promoting the revitalization of properties across the country.

“I am confident that, with a renewed sense of urgency, leadership and fresh ideas, the Superfund program can reach its full potential of returning formerly contaminated sites to communities for their beneficial use,” Pruitt wrote in a memo to staff.

Pruitt recently issued a directive for remedies of $50 million or more to be approved by the administrator to help revitalize contaminated sites faster.

Pruitt recently visited the USS Lead Superfund Site in East Chicago, Indiana, to view ongoing cleanup activities. He met with East Chicago residents, federal, state and local officials and pledged improved coordination and communication as cleanup continues. He was the first administrator to visit this Superfund site, which was listed on the National Priorities List of the worst contaminated sites in the country in 2009, EPA says.