CLOUDY
68°
more weather




Monday, 
August 11, 2003

 



Tips on searching


Browse Last 30 Days
The Blade Archives
AP Archives


Latest News
Sports
Business
Arts & Entertainment
Davis-Besse In-depth
Opinion
Religion
Health & Science
Technology
Columnists
Obituaries
Special Reports
Weather
AP Wire
Photos of the Day
Lottery
Daily Log
Today's Front Page


General
Real Estate
Autos
Jobs
Boats/Recreation
Celebrations
Legal Notices
Directory of Worship
Personals

Golf Guide
Restaurant Guide
Arts/Events Calendar
Educational Services
Forums
E-thepeople
TV Listings
Movie Showtimes
Horoscopes


Toledo Pros
HBA Parade of Homes
toledo
Contests
KidZone
Mud Hens Web Cam


Set As Homepage
Subscriber Services
Email Newsletter
The Blade e-edition
Advertise
About Us
Contact Us
Help & FAQs

Suburban News | Article published Monday, August 11, 2003
Neighbors’ beef with Sunoco is heard
Inquiries to probe area health concerns

By TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER


Oil droplets in swimming pools. Oil droplets on houses. Oil droplets on cars.

East Toledo and Oregon residents have been irked for years by what appears to have fallen out of the sky. Others are now taking notice:

  • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in Atlanta, a sister agency of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is putting together a study to examine the neighborhood health risk posed by emissions from Sunoco MidAmerica’s refinery at 1819 Woodville Rd. The refinery is more than 100 years old and has more than 57,000 people living within 3 miles of it.

  • The Ohio Department of Health plans to meet with elected officials, residents, and American Cancer Society members within a month to introduce a broader study in hopes of determining whether a cancer cluster exists. The Sunoco refinery and other sources of industrial pollution will be studied.

  • Ohio Citizen Action, the state’s largest activist group, has started a "good neighbor" campaign, asking the Sunoco refinery to cut emissions voluntarily, Beatrice Miringu, Toledo-area director of Citizen Action, said.

    The group wants reductions from Oregon’s BP refinery too, but is focusing on Sunoco because of its proximity to a residential area and its violation history, Ms. Miringu said. BP is more isolated, near the hazardous waste landfill operated by Envirosafe Services of Ohio, Inc.

    wToledo’s Division of Environmental Services, on behalf of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, has cited Sunoco for more violations since the company agreed to a $200,000 fine and vowed to make improvements in sulfur dioxide emissions in a 1995 consent order with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

    In a warning letter issued Feb. 18, the city accused Sunoco of "excessive malfunctions" last fall. Although Sunoco said it has made improvements and has decreased its releases since 1988, it is defending itself from a lawsuit filed in April, 2002, by the attorney general’s office.

    Philadelphia-based Sunoco, Inc., is committed to modernizing the Toledo refinery so it can meet tough new U.S. EPA regulations for sulfur dioxide that go into effect in 2005, Olivia Summons, refinery spokesman, said. The refinery is one of four in the U.S. owned by the company, she said.

    "The plan right now is to invest heavily in this plant to comply with these regulations," Ms. Summons said.

    Citizen Action’s campaign has generated interest - the company has received 2,900 letters recently. Some writers want the refinery to curb emissions while others want it to take more precautions against spills, Ms. Summons said.

    Refinery officials say they long have worked on the concerns of a community panel. She said the refinery takes such items seriously. "We know we have a responsibility to employees, the contractors who work here, and the neighbors. We are environmentally responsible."

    People who live or work in the area have mixed feelings.

    Their complaints range from noxious odors to skin irritations. Their ailments range from asthma to leukemia, but they acknowledge that attributing problems to a single source is hard to prove.

    Don Moore, 71, of Patchen Road in Oregon, said he recently noticed leaves falling off an otherwise healthy tree in his backyard, which faces the Sunoco refinery.

    "I was cutting grass. It was like a fine mist hitting my arms," Mr. Moore said. He called Sunoco, as he had when he found oil droplets on his house and on his car. He has called the company when his lawn was covered with a substance that appeared to be soap suds, he said.

    He and others said Sunoco generally has been prompt about responding, sending over a representative and, at times, washing down homes or paying for car washes. Yet residents stay frustrated because they claim to know little about what comes of those samples. The samples are analyzed to see if droplets can be attributed to Sunoco. "Sometimes, there may be things that people attribute to the refinery that may not be from us," Ms. Summons said.

    "That’s why we’re asking them to be a good neighbor. Our concern is people’s health and safety," Ms. Miringu said.

    In 1998, Oregon’s Coy Elementary School was evacuated twice in 10 days because of leaks at the Sunoco refinery’s tank farm on Wheeling Street near Brown Road. One day it was because of fumes from a diesel spill; another day it was fumes from a leaking butane line. In the fall of 2001, the firm was cited for an unauthorized discharge of crude oil into Otter Creek, a Lake Erie tributary.

    The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry decided to investigate after hearing complaints and learning of the Coy evacuations.




    Article Features »
    Printer-friendly version
    Forum on this topic
    Email to a friend
    View the Latest News index
    Subcategories »
    2002 Census

    America Remembers

    Davis-Besse

    Lucas County

    Medical

    Accidents/Vehicular

    City of Toledo

    Courts

    Crime

    Elections

    Environment

    Fires

    Higher Education

    K-12 Education

    Michigan News

    Minority Issues

    Obituaries - News

    Ohio News

    Other

    Politics

    Regional News

    Religion

    Suburban News

    Transportation

    War on terrorism

    Weather

    Zoo/Library/Museum







  • SEE QUEENSRYCHE IN CONCERT!
    Click here to win tickets!

    WINNERS LIST
    Click here!



    AUTOMOTIVE - NEW/USED/LEASING: CADILLAC, ISUZU & KIA
    Taylor Automotive

    AUTOMOTIVE - NEW/USED/LEASING: DODGE, CHRYSLER & JEEP
    Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Superstore

    CHIROPRATIC
    Schwanger & Associates Chiropractic Offices

    COMPUTER RETAIL SALES, SERVICE & REPAIR, AND NETWORK SOLUTIONS
    Computer Discount

    COSMETIC AND FAMILY DENTIST
    Jonathan Frankel, D.D.S.

    FUNERAL DIRECTOR
    Strabler Funeral Home

    HEARING AIDS
    Hearing Associates, Inc.

    HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING
    Shamy Heating & Air Conditioning

    HOME MORTGAGE EQUITY
    Midwest Mortgage Investments, LTD

    INVESTMENTS, RETIREMENT PLANNING & FINANCIAL ADVICE
    American Express Financial Advisors

    PERSONAL INJURY AND MALPRACTICE LAW
    Barkan & Robon Ltd.

    PLASTIC SURGEON
    Arrowhead Plastic Surgeons, Inc.

    PLUMBING CONTRACTOR
    The Clean Plumbers

    REAL ESTATE AUCTIONS
    Beth Rose Auction Co.

    REALTOR
    Char Winckowski - Re/Max Central Group






    © 2003 The Blade. Privacy Statement. By using this service, you accept the terms of our visitor agreement: Please read it.

    The Toledo Blade Company, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660, (419) 724-6000
    To contact a specific department or an individual person, click here.