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Cleveland Economic Development Receives Covenant Not to Sue Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program
The Cleveland Department of Economic Development has received a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) after investigating and remediating a property on Crescent Avenue in Cleveland.
The property, at the intersection of West 53rd Street and Crescent Avenue, consists of 3.699 acres that was originally utilized by the Ship Owners Dry Dock Company, and was occupied by saw mills and a tool shop. Several industrial buildings followed, used for steel and pattern storage, crane tracks, shipping and offices for the American Shipbuilding Corporation. From the 1960s to the 1980s the property was occupied by numerous industrial tenants. All the buildings and structures appear to have been razed by 1986. Currently, the property remains undeveloped. Future use is intended for the expansion of the nearby Great Lakes Towing Company, for shipbuilding and repair operations. The property is currently owned by the city of Cleveland.
Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, the Cleveland Department of Economic Development hired a certified professional and conducted property assessments and volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) metals, and petroleum contamination were found. The property was remediated, which included soil excavation and proper disposal. Property restrictions have been attached to the parcel, limiting land use to commercial and industrial uses, and prohibits the extraction of ground water. The property does not meet standards for excavation and construction activities, and risk mitigation plans have been attached to the covenant.
The proposed environmental covenant requires the property owners to report to Ohio EPA annually that the property’s use remains compliant with the activity use restriction.
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 to known releases. The protection applies only when the property is used and maintained according to the terms and conditions specified in the environmental covenant.
In the 20 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant not to sue under the VAP program, more than 11,620 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 550 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.