PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER: (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Linda Fee Oros
CITIZEN CONTACT: Mike Settles
City of Youngstown Receives Covenant Not to Sue Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program
The city of Youngstown has received a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP), after investigating and remediating a downtown brownfield.
The covenant covers a quarter-acre property located at 138 Federal Plaza West. Between 1918 and 1976, the property was home to the Liberty-Paramount Theatre. The building was demolished in July 2013.
Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, the city hired a certified professional to assess the former theater and address any areas of environmental concern. Because the unstable building contained asbestos, it was demolished and disposed in a landfill licensed to accept asbestos-containing material. Now that remediation is complete, the city plans to utilize the land for public use and parking.
A covenant not to sue protects the property’s 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. 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.