EAST LIVERPOOL - Several East Liverpool Health District board members voiced strong concerns about an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency letter and the state agency's speed in answering those concerns.
The Ohio EPA sent health district Commissioner Gary Ryan a letter dated Aug. 19 addressing an inquiry into the June 9 power outage at the Heritage-WTI facility in the East End of East Liverpool.
As a result of the power outage, a vapor recover system went down, and a pink plume rose from the stack. Iodine was present in the kiln at the time of the outage.
"There are no regulations in the Ohio's environmental laws that set limits for levels of iodine in air," the Aug. 19 letter from Pam Korenewych states. "However, studies were performed several years ago to determine the impact of iodine in the outdoor air. The study concluded that there is no health risk for iodine."
At the Aug. 21 board meeting, Ryan said he would contact the Ohio EPA for come clarification on the issue after Alonzo Spencer and Virgil Reynolds voiced concerns and wanted a copy of the study indicating there is no risk for iodine. Both Spencer and Reynolds are long-time opponents to the hazardous waste incineration facility.
"At our last meeting we talked about the Aug. 19 letter from the EPA, and there was a line about iodine in the kiln," Ryan said at Thursday's board meeting. "I called them after that first meeting, and they told me they would give me something."
Ryan said he subsequently called Korenewych on Oct. 1. "I said we have our board of health meeting, and I didn't get any letters from you, and she told me she was working on it and would send me something."
There has been no response from the state, Ryan told board members Thursday.
"It is really, really, really upsetting that these people are saying here that studies have been done, and the studies say there are no risks from iodine," board member Marty Schuffert said. "If the study has been done, for them to have to go back and work on it and take all this time to find it, it is absolutely moronic and ridiculous."
Schuffert went on to say, "If there is no health risk, the pink plume is not an issue. It's just a nice cloud. But what study is it? If you are going to write something, you should know what the study is.
"I think the Ohio EPA just gave a misstatement, to use a bland word. It's just ludicrous."
Later in the meeting, fellow board member Clifton Christian said he was disappointed in what he also felt was the Ohio EPA's lack of communication.
"I feel like we shouldn't just walk away from this," Christian said. "They claim they have a report, and we should do whatever we can to get a copy of the report and keep putting pressure on them."
Ryan said he would make another phone call to Korenewych. "I'll tell her it's important that we have a report by the next board meeting," Ryan said.
Spencer later spoke to the group and said the state agency "showed their total disrespect" to the local health board, and it was "almost a disgrace they have acted in the manner they have."
Mike Walton, an Orchard Grove Avenue resident, also spoke to the board about a U.S. EPA
study on air quality around East Elementary School, the temporary home for LaCroft Elementary School students while LaCroft is rebuilt.
Any U.S. EPA study of the amount of metals in the air is misleading, Walton maintained, because each metal was being looked at independently of the others.
"These children are really taking in a mixture of these chemicals - an amalgam," Walton said. "Ask the EPA to show you the data and the facts that the cocktail of pollutants is safe. I don't think they can do it."