9/29/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: James Lee

Ohio EPA Launches GIS Mapping Tool for Property Revitalization/Voluntary Action Program

Ohio EPA is announcing the launch of an online GIS mapping tool the public can use to track and research properties that have completed investigation/remediation work under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP). The sites detailed on this application have been granted a Covenant Not to Sue (CNS) by the Agency, which protects the property owner or operator and future owners from legal responsibility to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation relating to known releases.

“As Ohio works to open opportunities for economic redevelopment throughout the state, technology like this can make it easier to market Ohio to potential investors,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Properties that once may have been written off as low-value brownfields are now certified as environmentally ready for commercial or industrial use.” 

The announcement coincides this month with the VAP’s 27th Anniversary. Since the program’s launch, records for CNS’s have been housed at county recorder’s offices, as well as within Ohio EPA’s older document storage facilities and applications. With this new online mapping tool, information about properties that have gone through the VAP will be easier to navigate, allowing organizations to better visualize redevelopment opportunities in Ohio communities. 

Ohio EPA recognizes the need to remove the environmental and legal barriers that can stall redevelopment and reuse of potentially contaminated and contaminated properties. Through the voluntary efforts of the property owners and associated Certified Professionals, each of these properties has met the respective environmental standards for safe reuse and redevelopment. 

The covenant not to sue protections apply only when the property is used and maintained according to the specified terms and conditions. Since the Voluntary Action Program was created in 1994, more than 15,700 acres of contaminated land on 670 sites in 71 counties have been investigated and/or remediated, and subsequently received covenants not to sue. 

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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.

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