Columbus Suburban News
October 2, 2002
Residents, groups meet to fight alleged
Columbus Steel Drum's
pollutants are causing breathing problems and fouling water
supplies, meeting attendees say
Columbus Steel Drum still is under the gun from local citizens'
groups and governmental bodies.
than 30 people were on hand at New Horizons Community Church in
Blacklick on Thursday to discuss ways to address air and water pollution
allegedly caused by the company's facility on Blatt Boulevard. The
company's 18-acre facility reconditions 55-gallon steel drums for
resale. The drums are cleaned in a gas-fired furnace, spray-cleaned and
process, some citizens say, is an unhealthy one. Many in attendance at
the meeting gave first-hand accounts of respiratory infections they
believe were caused by the company. Some, like Clara Bennett, gave an
account of a "metallic taste" in her mouth during times of high
pollution by the company.
you can't even get to your car from the building, that's pretty bad,"
said Bennett, who works at McGraw-Hill, located directly behind Columbus
Members of Ohio Citizen Action launched a letter-writing campaign
regarding the odors coming from Columbus Steel Drum. That campaign
netted more than 7,000 letters from the community.
August, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency cited Columbus Steel
Drum with its seventh notice of violation related to its air quality
the groups represented at the meeting are the city of Gahanna and the
Jefferson Township Fire District. The fire district has filed a 60-day
letter of intent to sue. The city of Gahanna has launched a special
interdiction team to address the matter.
air pollution is seen as a problem, some at the meeting saw another
pressing issue: water pollution. Paul Wenning of the Franklin County
Health Department said the area east of Columbus Steel Drum could be in
danger, most notably the village of Blacklick.
such pollution to the water system still is only speculation, Wenning
said older wells in the Blacklick area are more susceptible to
trying to develop a sampling program for the village of Blacklick,"
However, such a program could prove expensive, costing as much as
$1,000 a well for what could be 30-40 wells in the area.
sampling, because it is so extensive in terms the number of chemicals,
is expensive," Wenning said.
sampling would include tests for cadmium, mercury, chromium, arsenic and
cyanide -- all of which the EPA found on the site of Columbus Steel
funding options are explored, Ohio Citizen Action plans to go door to
door in an effort to count the number of wells being used for drinking
water in the area. The group said it hopes a small number of wells then
can be tested to determine if contamination has occurred.
Columbus Steel Drum was fined $21,400 in July by the city of
Columbus' Department of Public Utilities Division of Sewerage and
Drainage for exceeding limits in the company's discharge
information is being sought on odors coming from Columbus Steel Drum.
Odor surveys for residents of Gahanna and Jefferson Township are
available at the Jefferson Township Hall, the Jefferson Fire Station and