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  • Ohio EPA wants former military sites checked, cleaned up

    Friday, August 13, 1999

    By Randall Edwards
    Dispatch Environment Reporter

    The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wants the federal government to clean up or investigate four former military sites in Ohio that are used by school districts.

    The projects include removing an old fuel-oil tank from the grounds of Fort Hayes Career Center in Columbus and investigating possible soil contamination at an old missile site in Cuyahoga County.

    There is no threat to the health or safety of students or staff at any of the sites, according to a report released yesterday by the EPA's Office of Federal Facilities Oversight.

    Also, the report identified four more former military sites, located adjacent to but not on school grounds, where more investigation is needed. Some of those sites may have been used as waste dumps, the report said.

    The report recommended no additional action for seven other school district sites that were investigated.

    The Corps of Engineers is willing to do the work but needs money from Congress, said Bonnie Buthker, who oversees Defense Department activities for the EPA. It is unlikely that any work will be completed until after the federal fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

    Buthker said school officials throughout Ohio have been cooperating in the joint, three-month investigation by the EPA and the Corps. The two agencies wanted to have the preliminary evaluations done before the beginning of the school year, and worked steadily through June and July.

    "The superintendents have been very supportive,'' Buthker said. "Some of the schools had more information about the site's history than the Corps did.''

    The report recommended the following work at four sites:

  • Fort Hayes in Columbus, where an above-ground fuel-oil tank should be removed. The tank is located in a fenced-off area.

  • Nike missile site CL-59 in Parma Heights, Cuyahoga County, where the EPA wants additional investigation because contamination has been found on Nike missile sites elsewhere in Ohio. Cuyahoga Community College sits on part of this site, as do two local parks.

  • Bellefontaine Air Force Station in Logan County, where the Corps already has removed two 20,000-gallon underground fuel-oil tanks. But those tanks had a coating containing PCBs, and the EPA wants to know if the soil is contaminated with the toxic chemical. The Ohio Hi-Point Career Center is located on the grounds of this former radar installation.

  • Lordstown Ordnance Plant in Warren, Trumbull County, where the EPA is asking for additional sampling. The tract has been under investigation since 1995. Some contaminated soil has been removed from an environmental education site that is used by several area school districts.

    In addition, the EPA wants additional investigation at properties that are near schools, including: the Clinton County Air Force Base and a Nike missile site in Clinton County, the Wilkins Air Force Base in Richland County and the Rossford Army Depot in Ross County.

    Two of those sites, Rossford and Wilkins, might have been used as military dumps, the report said.

    Reports from employees, original base plans and old aerial photographs and documents were used to investigate the sites.

    The investigation of the old military sites was begun after state and federal officials determined that an old dump site was part of the land turned over to River Valley Schools in Marion County after World War II.


    Copyright © 1999, The Columbus Dispatch