Gahanna News, November 13, 2002
Columbus Steel Drum Injunction
request filed on 'nuisance'
manager Ron Grannan
says he's' disappointed' in the
A company skilled at detecting odor sources is expected to
begin work Friday at Columbus Steel Drum on Blatt Boulevard.
Columbus Steel Drum operations manager Ron Grannan said that the
contract with the detection firm was close to being finalized. He
declined to name the firm, but said it has worked with sewer districts
and other metropolitan organizations.
Columbus Steel Drum is seeking the source of alleged odors that have
affected residents and businesses in the surrounding area.
Grannan on Nov. 5 met with officials from Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency and Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery's office
regarding Montgomery's deadline Friday for Columbus Steel Drum to fix
the problem or be hauled into court.
"When we walked out of the meeting (Nov. 5), I thought we had a good
game plan," Grannan said.
On Monday, Grannan said he was "disappointed and half-shocked" when
he found that Montgomery's Environmental Enforcement section filed a
request Friday for an injunction against the company.
Franklin County Environmental Judge Richard Pfeiffer Jr. will begin
hearing the matter Dec. 5.
Grannan and company owner Ed Paul both have stated the company wants
to be a good neighbor. The company processes between 5,000 and 5,500
55-gallon barrels per day on one shift from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with
hours dictated by customer orders, Grannan said.
The company spent around $100,000 on control systems on three
scrubbers on one of the company's production lines.
"I really thought (installing) the three scrubbers was going to do
it," Grannan said.
The suit seeks an immediate end to the odors and compliance by
Columbus Steel Drum, owned by Container Recyclers Inc. of Cincinnati,
with Ohio law regarding the operation of the Blatt Boulevard facility.
The suit also seeks a civil fine of $25,000 per day for each violation
alleged in the state's complaint.
Grannan said Container Recyclers operates two other drum recycling
plants in Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky., but problems there have "not
been to same extent" as the ones experienced in Gahanna and surrounding
Forces are marshaled against the company. Montgomery's request for
injunction alleges five counts: acting as a public nuisance; failing to
prevent the odors; failing to maintain exhaust gas temperature; failing
to submit for permits to modify parts of a production line; and
exceeding emissions limitation for hydrochloric acid.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has received a reported 15
verified complaints against Columbus Steel Drum. Fire department
officials from Mifflin Township, whose biggest customers are residents
and businesses of Gahanna, have confirmed a high volume of complaints of
odors that smell like burned paint or natural gas that allegedly were
caused by emissions from the company's plant.
Simona Vaclavikova, program director for Ohio Citizen Action, said
the suit is a good step in the right direction.
"I wish the community stays involved," she said.
Vaclavikova said she hopes a settlement out of court is not reached.
"I think there's a very good case against the company. There's enough
proof of their violations and we want the judge to hear that," she
The company's performance on promises it made to remediate the odor
problem "was never good enough," Vaclavikova said.
Vaclavikova said she would prefer the company use more immediate
means to fix its problems. For one, she said, the company should get a
permit for modifications to exterior and interior drum coating paint
booths and drying ovens.
Without the permit, no guarantee exists that the company is using the
best available technology. Vaclavikova said the lawsuit seeks relief
only on the odors and that other possible contamination of the grounds
and possible groundwater reportedly exist and need to be remediated as