Read local news
from our 21
newspapers



Place your Classified
ad online or call
614-785-1212


Featuring images
from our staff
photographers



Wiltshire says the best reunions don't require
dinner and dancing


How did your team
fare? Check out SNP's
top sports stories!


From health to home improvement, SNP
offers advice for
a better life.


E-Mail Addresses
SNP Circulation
Write a Letter
Society Forms
SNP Employment


Company in hot water with EPA, local group
Columbus Steel Drum isn't following its own
compliance plan, says Ohio Citizen Action

By RYAN KELLEY

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has cited a Gahanna-area company with its seventh notice of violation related to its air quality permit. The most recent notice was dated Aug. 19.

Columbus Steel Drum, located on Blatt Boulevard in Gahanna's industrial district, came under fire in May when a power outage on a furnace scrubber unit caused a natural gas-like odor to drift northward towards City Hall and westward to Chapelfield Road. During that time, 71 complaints were registered with the Mifflin Division of Fire, the Gahanna Division of Police and Columbia Gas. The company's 18-acre facility reconditions used steel drums for resale.

Since then, Columbus Steel Drum said it has hired a full-time environmental manager and drafted a compliance plan that was sent to the Ohio EPA on June 28.

At least one organization, Ohio Citizen Action, says the compliance plan is not being followed. The group held a public meeting Thursday night at New Horizons Community Church.

"We're working with the city. We're working with the EPA. We're trying to get this resolved and behind us."

--Ron Grannan
operations manager, Columbus Steel Drum

"We've had several members in the community who have contacted us in the last two weeks," said Kathy Remias, the group's program assistant. Remias said the complaints were of a "paint-thinner odor" coming from Columbus Steel Drum.

"They're still not correcting the problem," Remias said. "As far as we know, it appears that nobody is managing this compliance plan."

Ron Grannan, operations manager for Columbus Steel Drum, said the company has an employee handling compliance issues through the company's Cincinnati branch.

The Ohio EPA also has raised issues with the company's compliance plan. In a letter dated Aug. 9, the Ohio EPA stated concerns with the plan and gave Columbus Steel Drum 30 days to respond.

"As of now, we have not gotten any response," said Ohio EPA spokesman Mike Ebner.

Columbus Steel Drum officials said they remain hopeful that the matter can be resolved shortly.

"We're trying to be proactive," said Ron Grannan, operations manager for the company. According to Grannan, two scrubbers already have been installed, with a third awaiting the final hookup process. He said a response to the EPA letter on compliance issues will be forthcoming and within the 30-day time frame.

Ohio Citizen Action, which boasts 100,000 members in Ohio, continues to look for ways to address the problem it sees with the company. Remias said the group has collected more than 7,000 letters from the community and forwarded them to Columbus Steel Drum during the past seven months.

Another community meeting tentatively is scheduled for Sept. 26. Thursday's gathering was attended by about 25 citizens, 10 of whom said they are in the process of filing formal complaints with the Ohio EPA.

"They feel it's an unbearable situation," Remias said. "They just want the company to solve the problem directly and to be a good neighbor."

Along with air violations from the EPA, the company also has been fined $21,400 by the city of Columbus' Department of Public Utilities Division of Sewerage and Drainage for exceeding limits set forth in the company's discharge permit.

Grannan said Columbus Steel Drum submitted an engineering plan to address the sewage issues on July 18 and is waiting on approval.

In the meantime, Grannan said his company is trying to be a good neighbor.

"We're working with the city. We're working with the EPA. We're trying to get this resolved and behind us," he said.

 
             
           

2002, Suburban News Publications. All Rights Reserved.