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EPA targets Armco

The Associated Press

CINCINNATI — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed the addition of the former Armco plant near New Miami and a Kings Mills site in Warren County to the national Superfund list of hazardous waste locations that have priority for cleanup.

The EPA said chemical contamination from the sites threatens underground drinking water supplies and nearby rivers.

The proposed additions of the former Armco Inc. plant in New Miami, near Hamilton, and the former Peters Cartridge plant in Kings Mills were published Wednesday in the Federal Register. That triggers a 60-day comment period, after which the sites can be placed on the list.

If that is done, the agency will complete studies of the contamination and choose cleanup options before starting a cleanup.

The Superfund program was established in 1980 and gives the EPA authority to identify polluters of the sites and ask them to pay cleanup costs. The cleanups initially are paid for from the Superfund, which is funded by industries and taxpayers.

The 120-acre Armco site produced coke and iron from 1937 until 1991. EPA officials said it is contaminated with metals, hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

A waste landfill on the site was not lined or equipped with a system to collect seeping water, polluted sludge and slag was dumped on the property, and contaminated sediments were in a stream that runs into the Great Miami River.

AK Steel Corp. took ownership of the property in 1994. As part of an agreement with the EPA, it has been conducting an environmental investigation there.

AK Steel Vice President of Public Affairs Alan McCoy offered no comment when contacted Thursday by The Journal because he was unaware of the EPA’s proposal.

The 10-acre Peters plant was an ammunition factory from the World War I era until 1944. It made munitions for the military and rifle and shotgun shells for consumers. From 1944 until the 1990s, the site was used for production of vinyl phonograph records, for a distillery warehouse and for making of eyeglass lenses and frames.

The soil around the plant is contaminated with lead, zinc and other substances. In 1993, the site was paved to prevent direct contact with lead-contaminated soil. State authorities later cleaned up a Freon concentration there.

EPA officials said they are negotiating with parties who may be responsible for the pollution, including DuPont and the Army and Navy. Landmark Renaissance Associates now owns the property.

The pollution there is threatening an adjacent state nature conservatory and the Little Miami River.

Published 05.02.03



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