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Cuyahoga County Property Receives Covenant Not To Sue Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program
The village of Cuyahoga Heights has obtained a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) after investigating and remediating the former Sunar-Hauserman property.
The property at 6551 Grant Avenue, Cuyahoga Heights, consists of about 21 acres. Originally developed in the 1950s, the property had been used as a manufacturing facility, making movable interior steel partitions and steel office furniture. It is currently occupied by Quala Wash, an industrial chemical cleaning company; SS Kemp, a restaurant equipment distributor; and Recycled Solutions, a paper and plastics recycling facility. The eastern portion of the property is located within Cleveland’s city-wide urban setting designation (USD) area. All properties within the USD must be connected to the city’s potable water system and no ground water wells may be installed within a USD. The western portion of the property is located in a half-mile setback from the USD. The anticipated use of the property is industrial/commercial.
Following Ohio EPA VAP standards, Cuyahoga Heights (the volunteer) hired a certified professional to assess the property and address any areas of environmental concern. Six areas were identified for investigation. The contractor for the volunteer identified chemical concentrations in soil that exceeded commercial/industrial standards. Approximately 500 tons of soil were excavated and removed for disposal. A ground water remediation program at the property ended in 2002. A second round was completed from September 2012 to April 2014 to reduce concentrations of chlorinated solvents in the ground water. Nine sub-slab depressurization points were installed in two building areas at the request of the property tenants, although indoor air quality standards were being met without implementing these systems.
An environmental covenant was put in place to limit activity to industrial/commercial uses with ground water extraction restrictions. The covenant also includes a building restriction barring human occupancy of buildings in a specified section. An operation and maintenance plan was prepared for the property to maintain compliance with applicable standards for the sub-slab depressurization system.
A covenant not to sue protects the property owner or operator and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation relating to known releases. The protection applies only when the property is used and maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions of the covenant.
In the 19 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant not to sue under the VAP program, more than 8,800 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 450 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.