Feb 3, 2009: Judge pronounces sentence in General Environmental Management case pdf

GEM pleads guilty

AKRON -- Federal District Judge John Adams sentenced former Cleveland hazardous waste facility General Environmental Management (GEM) and its Vice President Scott Forster on Wednesday, January 21. GEM pled guilty to two federal criminal counts of making false statements and one count of falsifying documents in regards to hazardous waste and toxic chemical discharges at its facility, which had been located in the Flats. Scott Forster pled guilty to one count of making false statements. Judge Adams sentenced GEM to twelve months probation for all three counts to run concurrently. He waived the fine for GEM due to the status of the corporation, which dissolved on January 5, 2009. Judge Adams sentenced Scott Forster to twelve months probation, 40 hours community service, and a $20,000 fine, Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
Nov 24, 2008: General Environmental Management has pleaded guilty to federal charges of falsifying hazardous waste records
Charges tied to hazardous waste report

CLEVELAND -- "A now-shuttered Cleveland industrial waste treatment company - home to a 2006 chemical fire that injured six people - has pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges related to how it reported the storing and discharging of hazardous wastes into its wastewater. Officials of General Environmental Management, on Transport Road in the Flats, this month pleaded guilty to three counts of falsifying records. The company gave false information to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District about discharging a toxic chemical - methyl ethyl ketone - into the sewer system in 2004, court records show," Michael Scott, Cleveland Plain Dealer. Published November 21.

Nov 19: General Environmental Management pleads guilty to federal counts of falsifying information

fire CLEVELAND -- General Environmental Management (GEM), one of Cleveland's most notorious polluters, has pled guilty to three federal criminal counts of making false statements about hazardous wastes and toxic chemical discharges at its facility. According to court documents, GEM falsified manifests to conceal that it was illegally storing hazardous waste at the facility and provided false information to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District about the discharge of the toxic chemical methyl ethyl ketone into the sewer system. GEM and its Vice President Scott Forster also admitted to falsely telling the sewer district that it had not processed unapproved industrial wastewater.

The U.S. EPA, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the Ohio EPA, all members of the Northeast Ohio Environmental Crimes Task Force, pursued the enforcement case.  U.S. District Court Judge John Adams in Akron will pronounce sentencing in the case on January 21, 2009.  GEM announced in June 2008 that it was closing its facility in Cleveland's Flats, Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.

Jun 20: General Environmental Management waste water recycling plant to close

CLEVELAND -- "General Environmental Management, operators of an industrial liquid waste recycling plant in the Flats, will close rather than comply with city fire codes, a lawyer for the firm says. Estimates to install fire safety equipment have reached at least $1.2 million, said Keven D. Eiber. . . . GEM employees have been removing equipment and treated industrial waste from the plant since last month and expect to be finished by the end of summer, said Eiber and spokesmen for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. . . . A leader of Ohio Citizen Action, a watchdog group critical of environmental practices at the firm, said closing was best for the community. 'We think Clevelanders will breathe easier,' said Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Citizen Action," V. David Sartin, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Ohio Citizen Action first called for GEM to be closed in the interest of public health and safety on April 20, 2006.

After Ohio Citizen Acton broke the story this week that GEM was closing, we heard from members and neighbors:
  • Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I am ecstatic, elated, and extremely grateful to Ohio Citizen Action for all of their hard work and due diligence. I actually never thought they would close. Life is Good!
  • Congratulations to you and everyone who worked on the campaign and continued to pressure the company and the City of Cleveland for a cleanup.
  • You have made my day!!! Thanks!
  • Congratulations Ohio Citizen Action!!!
  • Cleveland smells a little better today.
  • Do the Happy Dance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jun 18, 2008: VICTORY
Controversial industrial waste firm General Environmental Management (GEM) is closing

CLEVELAND -- "General Environmental Management, the industrial waste treatment firm which had a major explosion in April 2006, has told Ohio EPA and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District that it is closing down. An Ohio EPA report from May 8, 2008, just obtained by Ohio Citizen Action, quotes the company’s owners as saying they would stop taking waste around the week of May 18 and spend several months cleaning and dismantling the plant, while putting the property on the market. Officials of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, which receives the wastewater from the facility, have also told Ohio Citizen Action that GEM has said it has stopped taking new wasteloads and is in a clean-up mode. The Sewer District will continue to monitor the facility.
Jan 10, 2008: Cleveland plant has violated Clean Air Act for years, EPA says

GEM protesters
Cleveland residents protesting GEM's foul odors in 2006.
CLEVELAND -- "The head of Ohio Citizen Action, which has protested against odors and emissions at the GEM plant for years, said the EPA finding was a good first step toward cleaning up the air. 'But this will only mean something to the people of Cleveland if there is specific enforcement action to fine GEM and force it to change its ways or if the company agrees to do so on its own,' said Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action. 'This also confirms what neighbors and scientists here have been saying about the dangerous pollutants coming from GEM,'" Michael Scott, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jan 7, 2008: U.S. EPA says General Environmental Management violates Clean Air Act

Betsy Russ, who works downtown, held a sign saying “GEM Stinks” in December, 2006.

CLEVELAND -- "The U.S. EPA has determined that General Environmental Management (GEM), an industrial waste treatment firm in Cleveland's Flats, is violating the Clean Air Act. Residents of Cleveland have been complaining about sickening odors from this facility for years In a letter to GEM dated December 21, 2007, USEPA said that GEM's 'biotreatment units' have the potential to emit more than ten tons of the hazardous solvent toluene per year, and that GEM is operating several parts of the facility without required permits. Ohio Citizen Action and Global Community Monitor detected toluene in air samples taken at the plant in 2006 and U.S. EPA found it in stack tests in January 2007," Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action.

Aug 9: Cleveland Fire Division case against General Environmental Management set for August 15th trial

CLEVELAND -- "The Cleveland Fire Division's case against General Environmental Management (GEM) has been set for trial on August 15th at 9 a.m at the Cleveland Housing Court.  A court journal entry says: 'changes in some circumstances, including an expressed intention by GEM to cease regulated operations at the premises, have caused changes in the parties' positions, and have led the parties and the Court to conclude that settlement is not possible.' After a major fire and explosion at GEM in April 2006, the Fire Division sued GEM saying it should not be allowed to operate unless it could come into compliance with the Fire Code.  The court allowed GEM to operate with certain restrictions, and it has continued to be the biggest source of odor complaints in Cleveland," Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.

Apr 25: Cleveland Division of Air Quality launches opportunity for citizen testing

Vacuum canister used for air testing.

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Division of Air Quality announced a new program over Earth Day weekend to provide residents of Cuyahoga County the ability to test the air they're breathing with a vacuum canister. The program is modelled after the citizen testing available in Hamilton County. In its "good neighbor campaign" to get Mittal Steel to clean up, Ohio Citizen Action has been urging the Cleveland Division of Air Quality to provide methods for citizens living around Mittal and General Environmental Management to test the air when breathing foul odors or experiencing other pollution problems at their homes. 52 KB pdf.

Mar 14: Something stinks:
One year of events in Cleveland with General Environmental Management March 2006-March 2007

This photo of the pipes at GEM was included in R.E. Warner and Associates' report on the December 18, 2006 fire at the facility.
CLEVELAND -- "April 2006 - GEM has major fire and explosion - five people are injured, parts of facility are destroyed. Over the next two months, the Cleveland Division of Fire sues GEM to keep it closed until it can come up to fire code, and over 1500 people call and write Mayor Jackson to shut GEM down. May 2006 - Ohio Citizen Action holds public meeting on GEM, invites all agencies involved in regulating GEM to participate and listen to what residents have to say - all agencies refuse to attend," Ohio Citizen Action. 34 Kb doc.
More photos of the pipes

Dec 19: EPA meeting on General Environmental Management

Betsy Russ
Betsy Russ, who works downtown, held a sign saying “GEM Stinks.” 

CLEVELAND -- "Cleveland area residents who have been living with the chemical emissions and odors from General Environmental Management came to an Ohio EPA meeting at the City of Cleveland Public Utilities Building last night. A fire at the company yesterday morning underscored the safety hazards at the plant, which had a major fire and explosion in April. After listening to presentations from the Ohio EPA and City of Cleveland Division of Air Quality, long-time Slavic Village area resident Marlane Weslian, summed up the meeting this way: “I feel like nobody is looking out for the residents who are having to smell this and the long-term health concerns from it,'" Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.  

Dec 18: Another fire at General Environmental Management
fire at GEM
CLEVELAND -- General Environmental Management had another fire this morning; apparently at their oil processing operations. Citizens are urged to attend tonight's meeting to ask questions, Ohio Citizen Action.

CLEVELAND -- Hazmat called to Flats business, WEWS Channel 5 News.

CLEVELAND --GEM fire in the Flats -- "Investigators say that blaze was caused by a welder's torch," WOIO Channel 19 News.

GEM meetingDec 1: Public meeting on General Environmental Management hazardous waste violations

CLEVELAND -- "This is the first time that these two agencies have held a public meeting about the problems at General Environmental Management.  It is an opportunity for people in Cleveland to make it clear we do not want GEM to get away with polluting the air and endangering its neighbors," Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action, 29 KB doc.

Sep 4:  Ohio EPA cites General Environmental Management for 11 hazardous waste violations

CLEVELAND -- The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has cited General Environmental Management (GEM) for eleven counts of violations of hazardous waste storage, labelling, disposal, transportation,design, and operations laws. In a letter dated August 21, 2006, Ohio EPA's Northeast District Office gave GEM and Carbon Injection Systems LLC, an associated company, thirty days to respond to its letter, which includes requirements that GEM apply for new permits, submit closure plans for certain areas affected by the April 20, 2006 fire and explosion, and make other changes in its operations, Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action. (1.48 MB PDF)

Jul 25:  Housing Court judge made right call

CLEVELAND -- "We were disturbed by The Plain Dealer's criticism of General Environmental Management and Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka ("Too quick to close files," July 6). The awkward intrusion of Ohio Citizen Action into the case was also unfortunate in that it further complicated a difficult situation requiring a fair decision on behalf of the common good. The reason GEM requested confidentiality was that the disclosure requested by the city included extensive business information not directly related to the incident," Constance I. Perotti, (executive director of Maingate Business Development Corp.) letter to the editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jul 6:  Too quick to close files

CLEVELAND -- "General Environmental Management was in court recently because the city of Cleveland wants the waste management company to shut down until it meets city safety codes. A magistrate ruled that it can stay open with some restrictions. As part of that case, GEM demanded that the city return more than 2,000 company documents, claiming they included trade secrets. The court agreed... Sandy Buchanan, executive director of Ohio Citizen Action, an environmental organization, points out that some of the documents marked confidential were available through public agencies and on Web sites," editorial, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jul 5:  Bad idea of the week
We know that Cleveland needs to be pro-business, but this is ridiculous

Leaks were fixed with duct tape at General Environmental Management.
CLEVELAND -- "Last Friday, a Cleveland Housing Court magistrate ruled that General Environmental Management can reopen, allowing the company to continue treating hazardous waste at its warehouse in the valley below Cleveland. Well, what remains of its warehouse... Since the explosion, over 1,300 people have sent letters or petitions to Mayor Jackson, pleading with the mayor to shut the business down before a major accident occurs. They must have gotten lost in the mail," James Renner, Free Times.

Jul 1:  Ruling lets Flats waste firm operate

CLEVELAND -- "A Cleveland company that treats oil and liquid hazardous wastes can continue to operate but with a restriction on doing welding around potentially explosive fumes. A Cleveland Housing Court magistrate instituted the control on General Environmental Management LLC as part of her ruling Friday on a complaint filed in Cleveland. It was a welder's torch that set off a fire April 20 at the plant when vapors ignited and a tank exploded. Six people were injured," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jun 29:  Controversial Flats firm gets OK to seal records

CLEVELAND -- "General Environmental Management LLC had asked the court to seal the documents because they contained confidential data about the company and trade secret information. Judge Raymond Pianka agreed and signed the order June 15... But a lawyer who represents Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental group, said the judge's order was too broad. Many of the documents stamped confidential by the company were public records that did not contain trade secrets. Some of the records had been obtained by Ohio Citizen Action from Cleveland," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jun 13:  Is this how GEM takes air samples?

CLEVELAND -- On Monday, June 5, Ohio Citizen Action received a call from Sergeant Scott Medlong of the RTA Transit Police Homeland Security Unit. The officer spotted a strange metal canister duct-taped to a telephone pole at West 34th and Broadway, near the entrance to the RTA police building. The canister had a sandwich bag over its intake valve. Sergeant Medlong was calling various authorities in the area such as the Health Dept. and Ohio EPA to see who the canister belonged to. If nobody claimed ownership, the RTA was going to contact the bomb squad. Later that day, the Health Department told Ohio Citizen Action that the canister belonged to someone hired by GEM. Within a few hours, the canister was gone and only the duct tape remained.

Please attend the court hearing on the Fire Division's court case against GEM

Community meeting on General Environmental Management

CLEVELAND -- Ohio Citizen Action held a community meeting to discuss GEM's violations and its effect on the health of area residents on Thursday, May 25 at Tri-C.

May 25: Community meeting on General Environmental Management today

CLEVELAND -- Freaking duct, "Ohio Citizen Action has designed its own awareness ribbons to inspire Clevelanders to contact city officials and ask that General Environmental Management be shut down for good. You remember GEM. The company that used duct tape to seal vapor leaks on corroded storage tanks? The reputed source of the funky smell that makes you sick if you drive on Broadway? You know, that hazardous waste facility by the Cuyahoga that exploded real good last month? Yeah, that's the one. Anyway, they want to reopen. By the way, OCA will hold a community meeting to discuss GEM's violations and its effect on the health of area residents at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in Humanities Building Room 101 at Tri-C," James Renner, Free Times.

May 24: Engineering professor to present results of investigation of General Environmental Management

CLEVELAND -- Dr. Teresa Cutright, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Akron, will present the results of her investigation of General Environmental Management (GEM) at Ohio Citizen Action's community meeting on Thursday, April 25. Dr. Cutright, a chemical engineer whose field of expertise is bioremediation, has analyzed public records of GEM's performance and will explain the health hazards of the chemicals treated and emitted from the facility. Ohio Citizen Action has invited Mayor Frank Jackson, U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and officials of all the agencies which regulate GEM, to attend the public meeting. The meeting will be held at Cuyahoga Community College, Humanities Building Room 101 at 7 p.m.. Parking is free - enter at Gate 5.

May 18: Judge rules GEM chemical plant can reopen
City requested restraining order to keep plant closed after fire

CLEVELAND -- "A judge ruled Wednesday that a chemical plant in Cleveland's industrial Flats can reopen. The Cleveland Municipal Court housing division denied the city's request for General Environmental Management to remain closed. The plant was closed in April after an explosion and fire at the facility, and the city requested a temporary restraining order to keep it shut down," NewsNet5.

CLEVELAND -- Portion of plant reopens, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

NOTE: Although Judge Pianka did not grant the full temporary restraining order sought by the city, the fire division's order to General Environmental Management (GEM) to "cease use" until they come up to performance standards is still in effect. A hearing for the fire division's case against GEM is scheduled for next week. Ohio Citizen Action will hold a public meeting on GEM on Thursday, May 25.

May 12: City leaders seek order to keep chemical plant closed
Plant shut down after April explosion

CLEVELAND -- "City leaders and residents went to court on Thursday, seeking a temporary restraining order against the company to keep the plant closed. Even before the explosion, the city was investigating the company for safety issues, and health officials got so many complaints about a foul odor coming from the plant that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency demanded that the plant fix the odor problem," NewsNet5.com.

May 11: General Environmental Management response to city lawsuit: "Killing the goose that lays the golden egg"

Fire at General Environmental Management on April 20. David Andersen, The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- The City of Cleveland has taken General Environmental Management to court, filing to keep the industrial waste company from reopening unless it can meet the city's fire and building codes. The lawsuit will be heard on Thursday, May 11,at 9 a.m., at the City's Housing Court. In response to a legal motion filed by the city on May 1, General Environmental Management (GEM) filed a legal brief urging the court to allow the facility to reopen. In the brief, GEM maintains that 'The City of Cleveland, by bringing this action for injunctive relief in the form of a shut down, places GEM's financing at risk. If FirstMerit declares this action an event of default on its loans, GEM will be unable to remain in business.' (p. 11). It goes on to say, 'By seeking both significant improvements and upgrades at the same time that it seeks to shut the company down for months, the City seeks to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs,' Developments in the court case are moving rapidly. For copies of attachments to filings, new filings, or an update, please contact Ohio Citizen Action.

May 10: Neighbors want plant shut down

CLEVELAND -- "An industrial plant that was the scene of an explosion and fire three weeks ago was the scene of a demonstration today. The group, Ohio Citizen Action, joined with neighbors who live near the plant, and asked the city of Cleveland to shut the place down forever. General Environmental Management recycles hazardous solid and liquid waste. Citizen Action has been monitoring the plant for years and says the explosion which injured six people was bound to happen," Rita Andolsen, WKYC.

More photos of the protest.

CLEVELAND -- City sues over conditions in Flats plant, John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

May 9: U.S. EPA petitioned to take charge of all environmental laws involving GEM

CLEVELAND -- "As you may know, the City of Cleveland Fire Department has taken GEM to court, insisting that it come up to fire code before being allowed to operate. The April 20 explosion sent six workers to the hospital with burns, caused a three-alarm fire, rocked houses two miles away, and sent a chemical tank 150 feet in the air, according to eyewitnesses. This facility is under regulation by a variety of different state and local government agencies, as well as the U.S. EPA. Because final authority for overseeing the nation's environmental laws rests with U.S. EPA, it is necessary that your agency take charge of this facility," letter to US EPA Admisnistrator Stephen Johnson, Ohio Citizen Action.

May 6: General Environmental Management:
A history of breaking environmental laws

CLEVELAND -- "General Environmental Management's record shows a pattern of violations of city fire safety codes and virtually every environmental law that they are supposed to follow. Ohio Citizen Action has compiled information available on GEM's environmental violations from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, City of Cleveland Fire Department and Health Department, Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA, over the past two years," Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action.

GEM response to Mayor (230 kb .pdf)

Please Call or write Cleveland Mayor Jackson

May 1:  Please Call or write Cleveland Mayor Jackson:
Keep General environmental Management closed

CLEVELAND -- "GEM has a history of environmental violations, including 'significant noncompliance' citations by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and improper storage of hazardous waste. Workers at the Orange Avenue post office, Cuyahoga Community College, nearby businesses, and neighboring homes have been experiencing sickening odors from GEM over the past year. However, the odors have been only the symptom of the problem at GEM – they are not the cause. During its operations, GEM appears to be routinely venting toxic chemicals into the air of the surrounding neighborhoods," Ohio Citizen Action.

Apr 27:  We hate to say we told you so …

CLEVELAND -- "Residents had complained for years about GEM. Those who worked near the factory claimed a piney, vomit-like smell wafting up from GEM was making them sick. Employees at Tri-C and the Lottery Commission told the Cleveland Division of Air Quality that they suffered from headaches after exposure to this toxic gas. Sometimes, it made their arms tingle. But the CDAQ continued to ignore the problem. When gaping holes were discovered in tanks GEM used to treat poisonous waste, the company was allowed to patch up the leaks with duct tape," James Renner, Cleveland Free Times.

Apr 26:  Ohio Citizen Action says Mayor Jackson must meet with neighbors of General Environmental Management

CLEVELAND -- "Last Thursday's fire and explosion at General Environmental Management (GEM) called the entire city's attention to a facility that has been a source of ongoing problems for its neighbors. It is our understanding that GEM wants to reopen. However, members of the public who live and work near GEM must have the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the problems at this facility before you make any decision about whether this facility is allowed to continue its operations in the City of Cleveland," Sandy Buchanan, Ohio Citizen Action. 34kb doc.

Apr 22: Toxins from plant fire trapped before reaching river

CLEVELAND -- " As Cleveland firefighters battled the blaze that followed an explosion Thursday at a hazardous-waste plant, officials scrambled to keep chemicals out of the Cuyahoga River. Water contaminated with acids, oil and volatile organic compounds seeped into waterways before the flames were extinguished at the General Environmental Management facility southwest of downtown. More than 17,000 gallons of the mixture were captured in storm sewers and Kingsbury Run after dams were put in place," Gabriel Baird, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Apr 21: Citizen Action group calling for GEM plant to be shut down

CLEVELAND -- "Last month, we told you an environmental group, the EPA and the health department, were investigating odors coming from General Environmental Management in Cleveland. Today, Ohio Citizen Action was back at the site after the explosion. Members are calling for the plant to be shut down," Bill Safos, WEWS News.

CLEVELAND -- It looked like they dropped an atomic bomb', Donna J. Miller and Gabriel Baird, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- "A story on Page One Friday about the explosion and fire at the General Environmental Management chemical treatment plant near downtown Cleveland incorrectly said that Cleveland Health Department officials have been doing 'air quality' tests in the area. While officials have been sampling the air around the plant for the last two years to gauge how strong odors have been, the department does not have the portable equipment necessary to do 'air quality' tests - which detect what chemicals are in the air and at what concentrations," Corrections and Clarifications, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- Fire, explosion rip through Cleveland industrial complex, Canton Repository.

Apr 20:  Mayor Jackson asked to permanently close GEM facility in Cleveland after explosion injures five workers

CLEVELAND -- "'The explosion and fire today at GEM is the natural outcome of the total failure of Cleveland's government agencies to respond to the health and safety concerns of the community,' said Stephen Gabor of Ohio Citizen Action. 'After hundreds of complaints about hazardous air pollution and odors, our agencies did nothing more than ask the polluter to come up with a plan and now five people are in the hospital and toxic smoke is all over town,'" press release, Ohio Citizen Action. CLEVELAND -- Five taken to hospital after hazardous materials explosion, WEWS News.

Apr 6:  Community meeting on air pollution

Dave Nash and Chuck Glazer of Mittal Steel examine a jar of pollution brought in by Betts Skrha.

CLEVELAND -- "Clevelanders are sick and tired of air pollution and particles in the air that can aggravate asthma, cause lung and heart disease, and lead to cancer. Citizens are using their own air pollution testing devices to document the pollution themselves. We have traced pollution back to Mittal Steel and to General Environmental Management (GEM). Both companies were invited to attend the meeting yesterday to discuss these problems with the neighbors. GEM declined the invitation," Ohio Citizen Action.

Mar 31:  Community Meeting on Air Pollution

CLEVELAND -- "Clevelanders are sick and tired of air pollution and particles in the air that can aggravate asthma, cause lung and heart disease, and lead to cancer. Citizens are using their own air-pollution testing devices to document the pollution themselves. The City of Cleveland does not have any mobile equipment that can be brought in to test for chemicals in the air near a polluter or in a neighborhood. We have traced pollution back to Mittal Steel and to General Environmental Management. Representatives of both companies have been invited to attend the meeting," Ohio Citizen Action.

Mar 24:  Ohio Citizen Action will answer the question: "What's in that smell?"

Denny Larson takes a bucket sample downwind of Mittal Ironworks plant during a strong odor incident.

CLEVELAND -- "Ohio Citizen Action and Global Community Monitor will release results of first-ever real-time air pollution tests in Cleveland on Friday, March 24, 2006 at noon. A press conference will take place at the home of Arlene and Jeff Green, 3477 Independence Rd., to release results of real-time air monitoring and swipe sampling from neighborhoods surrounding the Flats. The sampling shows the chemicals, dangerous gases, and metals that neighbors of Mittal Steel and General Environmental Management are being exposed to on a daily basis, " Ohio Citizen Action.

Mar 17:  Air keepers

CLEVELAND -- "Concerned citizens are stepping up their watch of the Mittal Steel Co. plant in Cleveland. Ohio Citizen Action will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2592 West 14th St. in Tremont, to outline the latest strategy... Starting Monday, Citizen Action asks that if you see or smell any pollution from Mittal Steel, General Environmental Management or other neighboring industries to report it. Call Citizen Action at 216-861-5200 (office), 216-314-0180 (cell) or Larson at 415-845-4705 (cell). They will meet you and take samples of air pollution or particulates," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Mar 1:  Cleveland, firm reach deal over stink
Timetable set to rid downtown of odor

CLEVELAND -- "A hazardous waste company that has been stinking up the neighborhoods around the Flats will have to clean up. The state and Cleveland reached an agreement Tuesday with General Environmental Management LLC that sets a timetable for the company to fix the odor problems coming from its plant on Transport Road in Cleveland. The interim agreement filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court requires the company to develop a community outreach plan within 30 days that will include creating a 24-hour odor complaint hot line and notifying Cleveland of the complaints," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jan 23:  Capturing Flats' bad air in a bucket
Amateur free-lance patrols aim to clean up Cuyahoga Valley

CLEVELAND -- "[Jessica] Kramer and [Jerry] Reed-Mundell are detectives in a citizen-initiated stink patrol. Their goal is to clean up the dirty air rising from the Cuyahoga Valley, Cleveland's industrial heart and the birthplace of Standard Oil. 'It's more than a disturbing bad smell,' said Reed-Mundell, 56, who teaches chemistry at Cleveland State University. 'It's a health issue.' Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental group, launched the air-testing program last November after hearing repeated complaints about awful odors in downtown Cleveland and nearby neighborhoods of Tremont, Ohio City and Slavic Village. The smells could be toxic chemicals, which can have lasting health effects, such as cancer or reproductive damage, said Sandy Buchanan, who heads Ohio Citizen Action," John C. Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jan 11:  Smell you later: A hazardous waste company fixes leaks with duct tape. What could possibly go wrong?

CLEVELAND -- "No one denies Cleveland stinks. It’s the smell of molten steel, the odor of industry keeping the city alive. It sweeps gently up the Cuyahoga from Mittal’s black chimneys, spewing orange flame into our gray skies, wafting between Tower City and Jacobs Field. We’re accustomed to it. But last January, Clevelanders noticed a whole new smell, and this one was not welcome... The chemicals emitted by GEM were sampled on November 29 by Denny Larson of Global Community Monitor of San Francisco and representatives from Ohio Citizen Action. Using an EPA-approved bucket device, the team captured a small amount of air near the GEM facility," James Renner, Free Times.

Nov 30, 2005:  DIY pollution control

CLEVELAND -- "Frustrated with the lack of action from city government to uncover who is responsible for stinking up Tremont, residents have begun to arm themselves for a war against Mittal Steel and General Environmental Management. Environmental watchdog Ohio Citizen Action has been monitoring the Mittal factory for some time... Denny Larson, of Global Community Monitor, has perfected a process for constructing low-cost air monitoring machines, from buckets and other material available at Home Depot. Last Monday, at OCA’s request, he flew into town for a community meeting at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont, where he taught a few dozens residents how to form their own 'bucket brigade,'" James Renner, Free Times.

Sep 21:  One whiff and people get miffed downtown

CLEVELAND -- "Every time Jennifer Maurer comes to Cleveland she holds her nose. Something stinks along Interstate 77 -- a strong smell that rises from the industrial end of the Flats. 'It's so potent, you almost feel like you're tasting it,' said the 35-year-old Akron woman, who teaches music in the Cleveland schools and smells the odor while driving into downtown. She called the city's smell police. Maurer is one of many people who have complained to air pollution inspectors about a strong, solvent-like odor since early February. Inspectors from the Cleveland Division of Air Quality tracked the odor to General Environmental Management LLC, which treats liquid industrial and hazardous wastes," John Kuehner, Cleveland Plain Dealer.

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland tries to resolve odor complaints, Associated Press.

For more information:
Sandy Buchanan
Ohio Citizen Action
(216) 861-5200

1,586 neighbors have sent handwritten letters and petitions urging Mayor Jackson to keep GEM closed, as of June 26, 2006.