Source: Canton Repository (OH), June 7, 2017
Posted on: http://www.advisen.com
A north-side neighborhood should be a degree safer as federal environmental officials remove hazardous materials from a neglected former industrial site in the 600 block of N. Union Avenue.
The cleanup at the former Crest Rubber plant is under authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is projected to last about four months.
What is being removed is more than 500 55-gallon drums and about 1,000 smaller containers carrying hazardous material. The material includes the carcinogen benzene, tetrachloroethylene (PERC) and other ignitable waste. The hazardous material is in both liquid and solid form.
“It is a pretty large cleanup,” said Michael Settles, public relations officer for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. “They are going to be out there for a while.”
The state EPA alerted the federal EPA of the site, currently owned by C.F. Capital Investment of Ravenna. Crest Rubber ceased operating at the plant in 2015. The plant was abandoned, according to the U.S. EPA.
“They are getting rid of everything that is, let’s say, an environmental hazard,” said Joe Mazzola, city director of planning and development.
“As it is, it does not help reinvestment in the city, on one of our major thoroughfares. Everyone coming into the city from the north, there it is. We try to make our major corridors as economically viable as possible. This is one area where we are falling short.”
Crest Rubber acquired the 61,000-square-foot facility from the Alliance Rubber Co. There is security at the site, which is fenced off from the general public. The plant is about a quarter-mile northwest of this city’s downtown.
The “EPA will use federal Superfund funds to pay for this cleanup,” Rachel Bassler, a U.S. EPA spokeswoman, said in an email statement. “EPA is working to identify a responsible party. This is a time-critical removal action conducted by the EPA’s Superfund program. EPA estimates the cost to be slightly under $2 million.”
The EPA has hired a contractor to do the work. Fire Department officials first noticed the hazardous materials left behind in the plant.
“The building has been in a continuous state of decay for many years,” said Assistant Chief Danille Kemp of the Fire Department. “When the building got really bad, there were many barrels containing who knows what.”
Eventually, the Ohio EPA was contacted.
“Any time you can remove an eyesore, it creates an opportunity,” said Tom Pukys, chief executive officer of Alliance Area Development. “The whole Union Avenue we have been planning for future development. It is a main corridor in Alliance.”