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MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Strouse
CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein
Pickaway County Property Cleared for Redevelopment
A Circleville 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 city of Circleville and CircleGreen LLC, the current owner.
Ohio EPA issued a covenant not to sue for the approximately 25-acre former Jefferson Smurfit Paper Mill property, located at 401 W. Mill St. in Circleville, east of U.S. Route 23. The Jefferson-Smurfit Corporation previously used the property as a pulp and paper mill to manufacture corrugated fiber board. In 2008, the city received a Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant in the amount of $750,000 to clean up the property. Potential future uses may include a retail facility or inclusion in a neighboring grain elevator business.
By entering the VAP, the volunteers assumed responsibility for remediating the property. Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, the volunteers 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/industrial development.
Chemicals of concern (COCs) that were identified include volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, metals, poly-chlorinated biphenyls and total petroleum hydrocarbons. The volunteers identified locations where COC concentrations in soil exceeded the VAP commercial/industrial direct contact standards.
The volunteers excavated and removed the soil from three areas of the property for off-site disposal. Also, the volunteers proposed an environmental covenant for the property to limit its future ground water use and restrict land use to commercial or industrial purposes.
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 18 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant under VAP, more than 8,000 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 400 sites across the state.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.