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Posted on Sun, Nov. 10, 2002
State files suit to close drum recycler
Associated Press

The state attorney general's office is trying to temporarily shut down a steel drum recycler in response to years of complaints from neighbors.

"Natural gas-like" or "burnt paint" smells from the site could endanger people's health, said a lawsuit that Attorney General Betty Montgomery filed Friday against Columbus Steel Drum Co. and its parent company, Container Recyclers of Cincinnati.

The lawsuit in Franklin County Environmental Court seeks a temporary injunction to close the business in suburban Gahanna until it's cleaned up and a $25,000 fine for each day the company has violated state standards since January 2001.

Ed Paul, owner of Container Recyclers, said he was surprised by the lawsuit because company officials thought they had worked out a remedy in a meeting last week with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The company wants to settle out of court, he said.

The company has hired a consulting firm to help identify the origins of the odors, and has spent up to $150,000 on pollution control equipment since taking over Columbus Steel Drum two years ago, Paul said.

Columbus Steel Drum recycles up to 55-gallon steel drums - as many as 7,000 a day - that contained such things as food, ink, solvents and hazardous waste, Montgomery's office said.

Teresa Mills, director of the nonprofit Buckeye Environmental Network, said the lawsuit is only temporary help.

"This doesn't deal with the ongoing violations the company has," she said.

The EPA has known for 10 years that the company is polluting the environment with high levels of lead, arsenic and cancer-causing chemicals. It turned over the case to the attorney general in September.

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch

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