Columbus Steel Drum

Sep 5: Something sure stinks, residents say

COLUMBUS -- "In the Westerville area, neighbors of an asphalt plant complain of a smell that resembles a newly paved street. On the South Side, residents say a steel mill produces an odor similar to an overheated brake pad. In Gahanna, people say a steel-drum recycler's fumes reek of paint thinner... Residents and employees of nearby businesses don't like the smells at Columbus Steel Drum, which cleans and recycles barrels that contained industrial waste and chemicals. 'We've gone to great effort to eliminate any of those alleged odors,' said Ron Grannan, the plant's operations manager," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch. Published September 3, 2007.
Sep 1, 2007: EPA orders Gahanna plant to cut pollution

GAHANNA -- " A Gahanna plant that recycles steel drums isn't doing enough to cut foul odors and pollution, state environmental officials said. The state sent Columbus Steel Drum a letter Monday that calls for new scrubbers or an additional incinerator to replace an older system that doesn't catch enough pollution.'What they have now is not adequate,' said Isaac Robinson, air-pollution manager for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's central district office. Columbus Steel Drum paid a $500,000 fine in 2005 and installed an incinerator this year to help settle a lawsuit the EPA had filed," Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch .
Jun 2, 2005:  Public comment sought on Columbus Steel Drum case

Ed Paul
Edward Paul, owner, Columbus Steel Drum.
GAHANNA -- "Residents have until June 24 to comment to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency about the settlement between the state and Columbus Steel Drum. The agreement, finalized May 16 after more than two years of legal negotiations, calls for the company to pay $500,000 in penalties and install additional emissions-reducing equipment at its Blatt Boulevard facility in Gahanna. . . 'We will definitely look at the settlement and see what it includes,' Ohio Citizen Action program director Simona Vaclavikova said. 'I'll definitely make sure it gets distributed among the community group members and we'll encourage everyone to submit comments. It is, right now, hard to say what those comments are going to be. We have to see what's in the settlement.' Ohio Citizen Action helped organize residents affected by odors from Columbus Steel Drum, to put pressure on the EPA and attorney general's office to file suit. While she had not seen details of the agreement, Vaclavikova said her initial reaction to the $500,000 monetary portion of the settlement is disappointment. 'For several decades of pollution, I don't think that is an adequate contribution,' she said," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Apr 6, 2005:  $500,000 fine, site cleanup part of deal OK'd by plant

COLUMBUS -- "The proposed agreement calls for Columbus Steel Drum to install the additional pollution-control devices in nine to 12 months. If the devices are installed on time, the company will receive a $50,000 credit toward its $500,000 penalty. The sooner the better for residents in the area, Gahanna Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said. 'We don't have enough hours in the day to talk about all the complaints we've gotten and the actions we've taken,' Stinchcomb said. 'Most people will say it smells like rotten eggs,' Stinchcomb said. Equally bad was when the odor was mistaken for natural gas, sending area firefighters on numerous runs," Alayna DeMartini, Columbus Dispatch.
Jan 13, 2005:  Steel Drum trial moved to April 4

GAHANNA -- "The start of the trial in the state's case against 55-gallon drum recycler Columbus Steel Drum has been postponed until April 4. The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 10. The Ohio Attorney General's Office is suing the company on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, which claims the Blatt Boulevard plant has violated clean air and reporting standards," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enteprise.
Oct 4, 2004:  Fire site still being readied

Queen City Barrel should be safe for investigators in 3 weeks

LOWER PRICE HILL -- "Before they can enter the warehouse to determine why the 400,000-square-foot building caught fire, tens of thousands of barrels - many containing hazardous chemicals - must be removed, and large sections of the building must be torn down to eliminate the threat of its collapsing while people are inside," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Sep 23, 2004:  Columbus Steel Drum trial delayed until '05

COLUMBUS -- "The most recent delay in the state's case against Columbus Steel Drum will push the start of the trial into next year. The trial -- in which the Ohio Attorney General's Office would allege the 55-gallon barrel recycling company has violated air pollution regulations -- is now scheduled to start on Jan. 10. It was to begin on Sept. 20. 'They were not ready,' Hale said this week. 'Both sides claim they have experts that aren't ready to go yet, and haven't completed their reports and investigations.' This is at least the fifth time the trial has been rescheduled since the attorney general's office originally filed suit against the Blatt Boulevard company in November 2002," Miriam Segaloff, Columbus This Week.
Sep 15:  Queen City Barrel won't reopen

Photos of Queen City Barrel

CINCINNATI -- "Queen City Barrel won't try to reopen its barrel-recycling business, which burned last month in Price Hill. Bill Fischer, of the Cincinnati Community Development and Planning Department, said the company was phasing out the location even before the devastating fire of Aug. 19. The company once had about 100 workers there, but was down to about 30 or 40 at the time of the fire, Fischer said. He spoke at a meeting of city council's Neighborhoods Committee on Tuesday night. Queen City Vice President Craig Feltner couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday night. The fire happened just hours after the city offered to pay $1.2 million for the building and about 12 acres surrounding it," Kevin Eigelbach, Cincinnati Post.

WEST PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- No environmental hazards found in Queen City Barrel fire cleanup, William A. Weathers, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Sep 9:  Fire investigators must wait week or more to enter barrel warehouse

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "Demolition work continued Wednesday on large portions of the building deemed unstable. That work will continue for at least a week before investigators can enter and start looking for a cause and origin of the massive fire Aug. 19 in the 400,000-square-foot warehouse that held between 40,000 and 50,000 barrels, some containing up to an inch of potentially hazardous chemicals. . . . Investigators also have interviewed about 35 witnesses and reviewed videotape of the fire. But they don't have enough evidence to determine a cause or origin of the blaze, which caused an estimated $5 million in damage. Once they get inside, the investigation should take between a week and 10 days," Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Aug 28:  Unstable walls slow probe of barrel company fire

Queeen City Barrel fire

CINCINNATI -- "About 20 investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response Team left the Queen City Barrel Co. site Thursday because the building remains too unstable to continue the investigation. The special agents cannot get into the structure until several walls are torn down, the agency's spokesman Mike Campbell said today. Meanwhile, they've been released to their home offices. Campbell said he did not know how long it would be before the agents return. . . . The five-alarm blaze at the mammoth Lower Price Hill structure occurred the evening of Aug. 19, hours after the city offered $1.2 million for the building and about 12 acres," Cincinnati Post.
Aug 26:  Fire won't delay Columbus Steel Drum trial

COLUMBUS -- "Nearly two years after being filed, the environmental lawsuit against Columbus Steel Drum in Gahanna is expected to finally come to trial next month. The court proceedings against CSD's Cincinnati-based parent company, Container Recyclers Inc., are scheduled to begin Sept. 20 in the Franklin County Municipal Court's environmental division. The suit was filed on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency by the state attorney general's office. The company made headlines of a different sort last week, however, when its 400,000-square-foot Queen City Barrel Co. warehouse in Cincinnati burned to the ground. Company vice president Craig Feltner said the building destroyed by the fire was used for storage only. The fire, Feltner said, will have no impact on the company's operations in Columbus or on its preparation for trial," Miriam Segaloff, Columbus This Week.
Aug 24:  Federal agents view fire site
Federal agents gather at barrel firm fire site

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "Federal experts began helping Cincinnati fire investigators Monday outside the Queen City Barrel Co., which still remained too hot for workers to examine inside. Special agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives helped interview witnesses and others, and took pictures of the rubble of the barrel-storage warehouse -- 'whatever they could do from outside the scene,' said Patrick Berarducci, senior special agent and spokesman. When investigators would go inside was not yet clear, he said," Jane Prendergast," Cincinnati Enquirer.

CINCINNATI -- Queen City Barrel probe to begin, Stephenie Steitzer, Cincinnati Post.
Aug 23:  Federal agents view fire site
Inspection of smoking Queen City Barrel Co. expected to take at least a week

Health Department graphic

Note the inevitable reassurance from the Cincinnati Health Department: "The plume posed no health threat to people." Unfortunately, there's no basis for that claim, since investigators don't yet know what chemicals burned.

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "A senior special agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said 20 federal agents from around the country planned to begin inspecting the smoldering pile at Queen City Barrel Co. today. "The objective is to bring in all of the experts that might be needed," said Patrick Berarducci, a senior special agent and spokesman for the Cleveland office of the ATF. Berarducci said he expects the federal investigators, many of them experts in explosives, chemicals and electrical fires, to stay at least a week. Federal agents from offices in cities such as Minneapolis and Dallas will be converging on the Queen City Barrel site at Evans and South streets. Local ATF agents have been on the scene of the fire since the night the warehouse burned. They will collect evidence, take photographs and video of the scene and interview any witnesses to try to determine the cause of the blaze," Dan Klepal," Cincinnati Enquirer.
Aug 22:  Warehouse rubble smolders
Site monitored until it's safe for inspection

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "Cincinnati Fire Department Capt. Dan Rottmueller, the city's lead investigator. . . .said it's impossible to say whether the fire was intentionally set, or whether it was caused by something else, such as faulty electrical wiring, until they get inside," Dan Klepal," Cincinnati Enquirer.

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- Barrel Co. owner's Columbus firm sued, Dan Klepal, Cincinnati Enquirer.
Aug 21:  Barrel owner, city had sale in works

LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "The deal was contingent upon a clean environmental inspection. The city was working on environmental testing around the perimeter. . . No one would discuss a possible cause Friday, nor say whether the fire's cause appeared suspicious. Both local and federal officials insisted that requesting some of the country's top experts in arson and explosives only meant that the city needed help to quickly identify a cause," Jane Prendergast," Cincinnati Enquirer.

CINCINNATI -- Feds to investigate Queen City Barrel fire, Roy Wood, Cincinnati Post.

CINCINNATI -- The Queen City Barrel Co. timeline, Cincinnati Post.
Aug 20:  Warehouse fire in West End
Toxic smoke covering part of city

Queen City Barrel has at least four subsidiaries: Cargo Clean, based in Lower Price Hill; Columbus Steel Drum, based in Gahanna; Astro Container, based in Sharonville; and Allied Drum Service in Louisville.
Perry plant
LOWER PRICE HILL, CINCINNATI -- "More than 150 firefighters from three fire departments were battling a blaze at a warehouse here that sent flames lapping nearly 100 feet in the sky and blanketed the industrial area in a heavy black smoke. Thursday's fire was the last of a long line of problems with the company dating back at least two decades. In 1983, residents of Lower Price Hill objected to the company's application to store hazardous wastes on the property. In 1987, neighbors complained about piled-up drums that were corroding and possibly leaking. In March, company president Edward Paul was among those objecting to the possibility that the city would go back to its odor crackdown program called Title X, which was repealed in 2002 as part of budget cuts. Residents complain the odors in Lower Price Hill and elsewhere have gotten worse since the odor-control program was canceled. Paul said then that when the company gets complaints about odors, it tries to work it out and be a good neighbor, Jennifer Edwards and Jane Prendergast," Cincinnati Enquirer.

CINCINNATI -- Landmark destroyed in fire; 150 firefighters battle stubborn blaze at Queen City Barrel Co., Mark Hansel, Stephenie Steitzer, Cincinnati Post.
May 27: Date is pushed back to June 16
Columbus Steel Drum hearing delayed again

COLUMBUS -- "The contempt charges stem from the environmental lawsuit the Ohio Attorney General's Office filed against Columbus Steel Drum, alleging the Blatt Boulevard 55-gallon drum reconditioning plant emits noxious odors and has become a public nuisance," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
May 20: Columbus Steel Drum hoping to settle lawsuit;
Opponents say they prefer trial

Blacklick map

GAHANNA -- "'We want something out in the open we can hear,' Jefferson Township resident Lou Smith said. 'One does want it resolved, but I would certainly need proof that Columbus Steel Drum had fulfilled all the requirements of the suit.' Smith is a member of Gahanna-Jefferson Citizens for a Safe Environment (G-J CASE), a group of residents coordinated by the consumer and environmental group Ohio Citizen Action to put pressure on Columbus Steel Drum to improve environmental conditions in and around its plant. She also is the former president of the Rocky Fork Creek Watershed Protection Task Force and a member of the Friends of Big Walnut Creek. 'I don't think a dollar figure should be put on this,' Smith said. 'It's the health of the residents we're talking about.' Ohio Citizen Action program director Simona Vaclavikova said a settlement cuts those most affected by Columbus Steel Drum -- area residents -- out of the process and keeps their perspective from the judge in the case. 'If you're dealing with the lawyers behind closed doors and only getting their two sides of it, you're really not getting the whole story,' Vaclavikova said. 'There is so much more to tell. The community perspective is so important. Without it, the case is not well presented to the judge. If this went into open trial, a lot of eyewitnesses could come and describe what kind of menace Columbus Steel Drum has been to the community and neighboring businesses,' Vaclavikova continued. 'Without a trial, a lot of this information would get lost in the paperwork,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
May 6: Steel Drum hearing put off;
Company has changed counsel

COLUMBUS -- "'We have had a change in counsel,' Columbus Steel Drum president Edward Paul confirmed. 'We just felt that we needed to introduce some new blood or something,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Apr 8: Efforts continue to uproot Columbus Steel Drum

OREGON -- "In addition, Ohio Citizen Action, a community-based organization that works with cities like Gahanna to bring pressure to bear on companies perceived as having a poor environmental record, is pressing for the state to take action against Columbus Steel Drum. 'However, our intent is not to put Columbus Steel Drum out of business,' said Simona Vaclavikova of Ohio Citizen Action. 'We are not part of any kind of conspiracy. We have worked with the community and the company to encourage Columbus Steel to take a good neighbor approach and just clean up their site and eliminate the odors. But we do not believe the company has met the criteria to be a good neighbor and they continue to operate without permits on their painting lines and there are problems with other areas of their operations,' Vaclavikova said," Ernie Shannon, Gahanna News.
Apr 1: Steel Drum claims conspiracy;
Counterclaim alleges company's constitutional rights have been violated

Columbus Steel Drum signGAHANNA -- "The most recent court filing by attorneys for Columbus Steel Drum on March 17 characterizes those dealings between the city, Franklin Steel and others as a 'conspiracy' that has damaged the ability of Columbus QCB [Queen City Barrel] to do business and violated the company's constitutional rights. According to the Columbus QCB's counterclaim, 'Franklin Steel and Sidney Blatt knowingly and maliciously conspired with representatives of state and local governments, who were acting under color of state law, to formulate and then implement a plan designed to ... evict (Columbus QCB) from the property and destroy its drum-container reconditioning business and eliminate 181 jobs, in violation of (Columbus QCB's) property rights as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Mar 22: Smoke and mirrors

GAHANNA -- " In an economy where it takes $5,000-8,000 to educate a student, imagine the pathetic impact $5,000 over two years would have! Could it be Columbus Steel Drum's president wants to shift their burden of public relations to an entity which has class? Ohio Citizen Action was correct in recognizing this 'offer' as a sham," Wilbur A. Smith, Gahanna resident, letter to the editor, Gahanna News.
Mar 18: To Columbus Steel Drum:
Citizen Action's letter to Judge Hale will stay on this website

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio Citizen Action is a membership organization and communications about our campaigns are made available to our members through our website. We will continue to post our letter to Judge Hale, as well as your March 11, 2004 letter to me," Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Area Director, Ohio Citizen Action letter to Edward Paul, President, Columbus Steel Drum.
Mar 17:  Plant offers money to educate public;
Ohio Citizen Action officials say the $5,000 is a stall tactic

GAHANNA -- "[Simona Vaclavikova, program director for Ohio Citizen Action] said she's spoken with members of Gahanna/Jefferson Citizens for A Safe Environment and their response was unanimous, she said. 'The money was inappropriate. The community does not want to see Columbus Steel Drum put money anywhere except into clean up or equipment, whether additional control.' She characterized the offer as a stall tactic. 'They've had all this time to prove it and they haven't done so,' she said," Jef Benedetti, Columbus Suburban News.
Mar 11: Columbus Steel Drum's version of the February 25 meeting with Ohio Citizen Action

BLACKLICK -- "Your letter to Judge Hale accuses Columbus Steel Drum of attempting with the last of the five ideas to 'bribe' your organization into supporting the Company's efforts to settle the environmental issues that are outlined above. I am at a loss to understand how or why you arrived at that conclusion and why you believe that such motive as the impetus behind this idea. . . When you place information like your March 8 letter on Ohio Citizen Action's website, it prompts citizens to write letters to our customers, letters than can damage out business and our customer relations. Based on the above information that clarifies the legitimate purposes of the citizen-related proposals that we presented to you and Ms. Remias on February 25, I am asking that you remove the letter from the website right away so that damage to our business does not occur," Edward Paul, President, Columbus Steel Drum, letter to Simona Vaclavkiova, Columbus Area Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Mar 8: Columbus Steel Drum offers $5,000 to Citizen Action; Group rejects it, informs judge

Hand and cashGAHANNA -- "Edward Paul offered Ohio Citizen Action $5,000 for various environmental activities, distributed over the period of next two years. . . I immediately expressed my outrage with Edward Paulís suggestion to offer Ohio Citizen Action money. I made it very clear to both Edward Paul and Craig Feltner that this was unacceptable," Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Area Program Director, Ohio Citizen Action, letter to Judge Harland H. Hale, Franklin County Municipal Court.
Feb 20: Cincinnati company agrees to pay $26,625 for air pollution violations;
Will stop one painting operation

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio EPA has reached a settlement with Queen City Barrel Co. for violating air pollution control regulations at its drum reconditioning facility located at 1937 South St., Cincinnati (Hamilton County). The company agreed to pay a $26,625 civil penalty and shut down a coating line that will result in the reduction of 1.6 tons per year of volatile organic compounds to the air," Ohio EPA.

Cincinnati-based Container Recyclers, Inc., owns Queen City Barrel Inc. in Cincinnati, and Columbus Queen City Barrel in Columbus, which does business as Columbus Steel Drum.
Feb 5: Gahanna Mayor backs off recall suggestion;
Stinchcomb sends e-mail calling for John McAlister's ouster, then apologizes

GAHANNA -- ". . . [Gahanna City Council] voted 4-3 to proceed with an economic development agreement with Duke Realty Corp. and invest up to $300,000 for the study of potential pollution at the site of Columbus Steel Drum on Blatt Boulevard. [Councilmembers Nancy] McGregor, [John] McAlister and Nick Hogan opposed the measure. The city plans to seek a grant from the Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund to cover the cost of the study. Duke's contract to purchase the property from owner Franklin Steel is contingent on council's approval of the measure," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Feb 4: Gahanna City, Duke Realty put on white gloves;
The partnership takes a closer look at plant's environmental effects

GAHANNA -- "Before the vote, [Council Vice President Tom] Evers said he reviewed a large volume of material associated with the ordinance over the weekend. He said it appears that the Blatt and Columbus Steel Drum disagree as to whether contaminants are present on the Blatt Boulevard plant site, where steel drums are recycled," Jef Benedetti, Gahanna News.
Jan 29: Facility owner wants Columbus Steel Drum out;
Franklin Steel has filed suit asking court to evict Columbus Steel Drum

Gahanna Councilman
John McAlister
John McAlister
GAHANNA -- "On council's agenda next Monday will be an ordinance granting Mayor Becky Stinchcomb authority to enter into a development agreement with Duke [Realty]. Council can vote to pass, fail or postpone the ordinance. Three council members said this week they would like to give the situation more time to work itself out before voting. Four votes are required to pass the measure. 'It seems like we're premature in this area,' council member Nancy McGregor said. 'We don't know who owns the property, or is going to own the property. We don't know if Columbus Steel Drum can continue to operate. Everything is still up in the air.' Council member John McAlister agreed. 'I'd have a hard time voting on this right now because there is so much left unresolved,' McAlister said. 'I would rather see this thing come to some type of head or resolution before we're asked to vote on $300,000,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Jan 28: Partnership merges to assess plant pollution;
A vote will take place Monday to approve the joint effort

GAHANNA -- "Minutes after the status meeting ended last Wednesday, Attorney General attorneys filed a contempt suit in Franklin County, stating Columbus Steel Drum had not fulfilled requirements set out in the April 2003 consent order. Columbus Steel Drum officials have stated that the company has met all the requirements of the April consent order, as well as a Nov. 2003 Notice of Violation filed against the company by the state's environmental agency. The November notice alleged the company had not fulfilled all the requirements of the April 2003 consent order," Jef Benedetti, Suburban News.
Jan 23: State calls on judge to fine Columbus Steel Drum

COLUMBUS -- "Ohioís attorney general wants a Franklin County judge to fine a Gahanna factory for continuing environmental violations. . . . Environmental Court Judge Harland Hale in April ordered the company to install equipment to clean its emissions and take other steps to fix environmental problems. An Ohio Environmental Protection Agency inspector visited the plant in September and November and found that the steel-drum reconditioning factory is not complying with the court order, said Michelle Gatchell, spokeswoman for Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro. The company failed to tell the EPA about fires on May 29, June 18 and Sept. 2. Malfunctions in the companyís drum furnace are the suspected cause, the state said. The attorney generalís office is asking that Columbus Steel Drum be found in contempt of court on nine charges. The state wants the judge to consider fines of $1,000 a day plus additional penalties to ensure compliance," Jim Woods, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Jan 22: Columbus Steel Drum launches fight to stay in business

Duke Realty logoGAHANNA -- "Columbus Steel Drum officials told Gahanna City Council in no uncertain terms Tuesday night that the company doesn't plan to leave town without a fight. Council is considering a proposal to spend up to $300,000 to help Duke Realty Limited Partnership redevelop the site. Duke has announced plans to purchase the property on which Columbus Steel Drum sits from owner Sydney Blatt. In return, the city has agreed to partner with Duke to study environmental conditions at the site and apply for state funds to clean it up. But Columbus Steel Drum president Edward Paul told council the plan is irrelevant since his company intends to purchase the property itself. 'We are a tenant in good standing at this property,' Paul said," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Jan 16: Steel drum recycler expected to be ousted from Gahanna site;
Company interested in developing property

Columbus Steel Drum

GAHANNA -- "Columbus Steel Drum is supposed to receive an eviction notice from its landlord, Sidney Blatt, said Sadicka White, Gahannaís development director. Operations could cease by July. Ron Grannan, plant manager, said he hasnít heard about an eviction. . . . The Gahanna City Council is expected to take the first step Tuesday by voting on whether to spend up to $300,000 to hire a company to analyze the Columbus Steel Drum site. After the study identifies pollution problems, Gahanna would apply to the Clean Ohio fund to pay for any cleanup, White said. Duke Realty would hire the contractors to clean the site. Cleanup costs could exceed $2 million, White said. . . .Mifflin Township Fire Chief Jim DeConnick said the department regularly fields calls about odors from the plant. When the air is heavy, complaints can soar. DeConnick said that on May 8, 2002, more than 70 complaints about natural gas-like odors were reported in Gahanna, Jefferson Township and other nearby East Side neighborhoods. People complain about eye irritations, breathing problems, scratchy throats and headaches, DeConnick said," Jim Woods, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Jan 15: Steel Drum being evicted, city told;
Gahanna might spend $300,000 for environmental study of Blatt Blvd. site

GAHANNA -- "Columbus Steel Drum plant manager Ron Grannan said Jan. 13 that he was not aware an eviction notice had been filed. 'We don't know about (an eviction),' Grannan said, 'We have a meeting scheduled next week with (Franklin Steel) to go over some things . . . there's some dispute on cleanup.' Grannan said he could not comment on whether Columbus Steel Drum would fight a potential eviction. White said on Jan. 13 it is her understanding Columbus Steel Drum has been sent an eviction notice, but, 'I haven't seen the actual eviction notice,'" Kate Fazzini, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
Jan 12: Public meeting tonight
Gahanna committee to discuss plan to close and bulldoze Columbus Steel Drum

BulldozerGAHANNA -- "The City of Gahanna's Development Committee meets tonight to consider a plan to permanently shut the notorious Columbus Steel Drum facility. The meeting will be at 7:00 PM at Gahanna City Hall, 200 S. Hamilton Road, Gahanna. The plan is outlined in a January 7 memo from Sadicka White, Director of Development, to Gahanna City Council and Mayor Rebecca Stinchcomb. Gahanna City Council is expected to vote on the plan next week. I encourage anyone interested to come and hear more about this plan," Simona Vaclavikova, Columbus Area Progam Director, Ohio Citizen Action (61) 263-4111.
Dec 19: State attorney general's next action won't close Columbus Steel Drum

Columbus Steel Drum from the air

COLUMBUS -- "Ohio Citizen Action program coordinator Simona Vacklavikova said the area residents she has been working with for more than a year are very disappointed by the results at Columbus Steel Drum. Vacklavikova said she wants to see environmental court judge Harlan Hale drop the hammer on the company. 'I really believe the judge has the authority to close the gate and should exercise this authority,' Vacklavikova said. 'It seems like it might be the only way to force them to clean up -- by closing them down and making sure they do not reopen until they fix these things up,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise, article dated Dec 18, 2003.
Dec 8: Allegations of contempt
Recycler of steel barrels faces new flak from Ohio EPA

Columbus Steel DrumCOLUMBUS -- "The Ohio attorney generalís office will ask a Franklin County Environmental Court judge to penalize a Gahanna steel-drum recycler accused of violating an agreement with state regulators. The request for a contempt citation against Columbus Steel Drum could be filed as early as this week, said Mark Gribben, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro. . . .If Columbus Steel Drum is found to be in contempt of a 12-page agreement that Judge Harland H. Hale approved in April, the judge could order the plant to shut down. . . . The plantís neighbors have complained for years about nausea, dizziness, headaches, sore throats and burning eyes. They blame the company, which uses caustic chemicals and a high-temperature furnace to recondition 55-gallon storage drums. Simona Vaclavikova, a spokeswoman for Ohio Citizen Action, said Columbus Steel Drum has not made a good-faith effort to correct environmental and safety problems. 'Drums that are being processed at the site continue to catch on fire,' she said," Roger McCoy, WBNS-10 TV, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Sep 3:  19,325 members write Columbus Steel Drum to stop polluting neighborhood

Columbus field canvass staff COLUMBUS -- As of September 3, 19,325 Ohio Citizen Action members have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging Columbus Steel Drum to stop polluting the surrounding communities. Helping to make this possible is Ohio Citizen Action's Columbus field canvass staff: top row, Mary Eberle, Kelly Reed, Mike Warner, Richard Stelling; bottom row, Perry Shoarr-Ghaffari, Morgan Leimbach, Paul Kingston (larger photo).
Jun 6: Lower Price Hill battles 'blight' tag

CINCINNATI -- "Neighborhood groups in Lower Price Hill are opposing a city-backed plan that would classify dozens of homes as blighted and make them vulnerable to seizure by the city. The homes would become part of an urban renewal area around an industrial site targeted for cleanup. The 'blight' designation would help in securing state and federal funds for cleaning up the possibly contaminated Queen City Barrel Co. property. 'There's nothing wrong with this neighborhood,' said Eileen Gallagher, a Lower Price Hill resident for about 20 years. 'This is being done to bail out one company, but it should be the responsibility of the owner to clean up that land,'" Kevin Osborne, Cincinnati Post.
May 19: Wednesday, May 21, at 10AM and 4PM
Join us for a tour of Columbus Steel Drum

COLUMBUS -- "With good-neighbor talks underway since May 1, Columbus Steel Drum is acting in good faith, opening the plant to its neighbors and sharing information about the plant processes. Come join the neighbors and workers from nearby businesses for a tour of the facility. Don't miss an opportunity to meet with the plant managers, ask questions and learn more about the plant," For directions, contact Simona Vaclavikova, (614) 263-4111, Ohio Citizen Action.
May 15: Columbus Steel Drum:
Company joins environmental protection team

GAHANNA -- "[Ohio Citizen Action program director Simona] Vaclavikova's organization has helped dozens of residents form a coalition called G-J CASE, Gahanna-Jefferson Citizens for a Safe Environment. Columbus Steel Drum officials met with G-J CASE earlier this month. According to Vaclavikova, the company agreed to share information on its processes, the chemicals stored at its Blatt Boulevard site, and its emergency management and assessment plans. 'That was the first really important step Columbus Steel Drum did by coming to the community meeting and agreeing to provide all the information they were asked for,' Vaclavikova said. 'We're encouraged. We see that as a way to build the trust from the community and, hopefully, create some kind of meaningful relationship so that everyone's interests are represented,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
May 7: Honda urges Columbus Steel Drum to work with neighbors and "put their environmental compliance issues behind them"

MARYSVILLE -- ". . . we have periodically met to discuss Columbus Steel Drum's ongoing environmental issues directly with Columbus Steel Drum management. At these meetings, we have reviewed Columbus Steel Drum's operations and their compliance status, and we have encouraged Columbus Steel Drum to work with the appropriate government agencies and their neighbors in order to put their environmental compliance issues behind them," letter, Karen Heyob, Environmental Manager, Honda of America, letter dated May 2.

Ohio Citizen Action members had sent 733 handwritten letters and petitions urging Honda of America to help turn Steel Drum into a good neighbor.
April 22: State isn't done with Columbus Steel Drum

GAHANNA -- "Even with the concessions by Columbus Steel Drum, Assistant Ohio Attorney General Doug Curran said his agency plans to add up to 30 additional charges to its original complaint. Curran said the new charges are all related to air quality issues at the plant. He said the attorney general, along with the OEPA, also plans to prepare either additional charges or a separate case against Columbus Steel Drum related to allegations of contamination of water sources around the plant,'" Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise, article dated Apr 18, posted Apr 22.
April 10: Factory will try to reduce foul odors
Ohio EPA plans to file more charges against steel-drum recycler over air pollution

COLUMBUS -- "The agreement yesterday, which deals with stench from the plant, did little to satisfy environmental activists and nearby residents. 'This suit was filed in October,' said Simona Vaclavikova, a program director for Ohio Citizen Action. 'Here we are in April, and the air pollution question is still unresolved.' In addition, the other charges expected to be filed by the state will not include allegations of ground and water pollution, she added. 'That's outrageous,' Vaclavikova said," Robert Ruth, Columbus Dispatch, access fee: no link.

GAHANNA -- "State, Steel Drum reach agreement; Resolution of case will require approval by environmental judge," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.

GAHANNA -- "Company agrees to control foul odors; neighbors bothered by smells," NBC TV-4 Columbus.

For hard copy full text of the agreement, contact Simona Vaclavikova, (614) 263-4111.
April 3: Judge in Columbus Steel Drum suit issues deadline
Settlement sought in odor complaint

COLUMBUS -- "Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Harland Hale said he issued a continuance in the case to allow himself the opportunity to meet lawyers from both sides, and give them the opportunity to reach a settlement. If that hasn't happened by April 2, Hale said, he has set the hearing on the attorney general's motion to begin at noon on April 9. The courtroom has been reserved for April 10 and 11 as well, he said," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
March 27: State and Columbus Steel Drum might settle case

COLUMBUS -- "Representatives from Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro's office said they were prepared to present evidence and witness testimony against Columbus Steel Drum. At the same time, however, lawyers for the defendant said they anticipated only a meeting with the judge to finalize a settlement agreement. . . .'Of course the neighbors and the coalition were very upset to learn about these negotiations happening behind closed doors,' [Ohio Citizen Action's Simona] Vaclavikova said," Miriam Segaloff, Rocky Fork Enterprise.
March 25: Public hearing cancelled
Columbus Steel Drum unprepared

COLUMBUS -- "The public hearing on Columbus Steel Drum, originally set for tomorrow, March 26, 1:30 PM, has been cancelled. Based on Columbus Steel Drum's request, the judge granted a 'continuance'. Apparently, Columbus Steel Drum lawyers misunderstood the purpose of the hearing and were not prepared. For more information, contact Simona Vaclavikova, Ohio Citizen Action.
March 24: Public hearing on Columbus Steel Drum this Wednesday
Horrendous odors and air pollution violations caused by Columbus Steel Drum are finally taken to court

COLUMBUS -- "In October 2002, under public pressure and dozens of verified complaints from neighbors, Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery sued Columbus Steel Drum for odor and air pollution violations. This Wednesday, March 26 at 1:30 PM, local fire chiefs and employees at nearby businesses will testify about the day-to-day problems in the community. The public hearing will be held at the Environmental Court, 15th floor, Franklin County Municipal Court Building, 375 South High Street, Columbus," Simona Vaclavikova, Ohio Citizen Action.
Jan 16: Judge's resignation irks Columbus Steel Drum opponents

GAHANNA -- "Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. will leave the the Franklin County Municipal Court's Environmental Division to be Columbus city attorney. Representatives from both Columbus Steel Drum and the Ohio Attorney General's office, which filed suit against the company in November, said the judge hearing the case is irrelevant to its outcome. Gov. Bob Taft will name Pfeiffer's successor at the environmental court," Miriam Segaloff, Gahanna Enterprise.

News from 2002