CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein

Jackson Iron and Steel Co. Property Cleared for Redevelopment

Another local brownfield is ready for redevelopment after undergoing an investigation and remediation through Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP), thanks to the voluntary efforts of the Jackson County Commissioners.

Ohio EPA has issued a covenant not to sue for the approximately 57-acre former Jackson Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) property located on SR 776 in Jackson. The company operated a steel mill on the site from 1900 to 1969. Most structures were demolished in the 1980s, and the property has been largely unused since the steel mill closed.

Jackson County now owns the property. The commissioners have identified its commercial or industrial redevelopment potential as high due to an active rail line running through the site.

Issuance of the covenant completes the commissioners’ participation in the VAP. By entering the VAP, the commissioners assumed responsibility for remediating the property. Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, the commissioners hired a certified environmental professional to assess the site, identify any areas of concern and remediate any contamination on the property to a level that allows for commercial and industrial redevelopment. The county received more than $2 million in Clean Ohio grants for assessment and redevelopment work at the site.

The investigation identified several areas of the property that contained high levels of volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons. The remediation included excavating approximately 2,000 tons of soil contaminated with lead and 47 tons of soil contaminated with PCBs; removing 7,800 tons of asbestos-containing materials from buildings prior to demolition; and establishing an environmental covenant to limit use of the property.

A covenant not to sue protects the property’s owners or operators and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation. This protection applies only when the property is used and maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions of the covenant.

In the 16 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant under VAP, nearly 7,000 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at more than 350 sites across the state.