EPA keeps eye on cleanup

EAST LIVERPOOL – The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is watching closely as a Pittsburgh-based company begins the cleanup process at its closed East End facility that gained media attention this week.

After two dogs apparently wandered onto the Michigan Street site and became mired in a tarry substance, city officials became involved when reports surfaced on social media.

A hazmat team went to the site Wednesday, with the OEPA and company President James Datesh also arriving on the scene during the day.

On Thursday, EPA representatives began inspecting the facility to determine if the substances still on site are solid or hazardous wastes, according to spokesman Linda Oros, who said the source of an odor that first brought the hazmat team to the site was determined to be open containers of a caulking material that she said will have to be removed.

Datesh said he had met with met with some contractors Thursday to secure quotes for removal of the various substances, also meeting with the contractor who had been hired to demolish the building so that company will “better understand what they need to do” to finish that project.

He said the EPA had not given him any specific deadline for ridding the property of the materials but said just seeking quotes for that removal “made them happy today.”

Datesh said it was premature to speculate when removal might begin.

Oros agreed that the EPA had not set a deadline for removal of the waste materials but said work was started Thursday on “buttoning up” the facility by closing off doors and other openings “so people can’t just wander in.”

Fencing was also to be installed around open tar pit areas, Oros said.

She said the EPA had learned through its preliminary investigation that Dacar had reported some chemicals on the property through the State Emergency Response Commission (SERF) in 2005 then, in 2006, the company reported it didn’t have any materials on site.

“We’re wondering if that’s the time they stopped producing and when they should have begun the cessation of regulated operations program. We have no record of that,” Oros said.

She explained that companies with hazardous chemicals on site must adhere to certain procedures when closing down operations.

At this time, Oros said it is too early to tell if the company has violated any laws but determining that will be part of the EPA investigation.