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Ohio EPA Recognizes Voluntary Cleanup at Gowdy North Site in Columbus
Redevelopment has begun at a former brownfield in Columbus, known as the Gowdy North property, following an environmental investigation and remediation through Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP). Ohio EPA recognizes the efforts of the volunteers (the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and Gowdy Partners III LLC).
Ohio EPA recently issued a covenant not to sue for the approximately 7.2-acre Gowdy North property, located at 1045 and 1145 Olentangy River Rd. Approximately 4.7 acres of the property are owned by Gowdy Partners and have been developed as The Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center. Another 2.5 acres are owned by Time Warner Cable Midwest LLC and have not yet been developed.
Ohio EPA also issued a covenant not to sue in 2007 for the approximately 18.6-acre Gowdy Field property, located just to the south, which has since been developed as Time Warner’s regional headquarters and The Ohio State University Eye and Ear Institute. Both the Gowdy North and Gowdy Field properties were part of a landfill used by the city of Columbus from 1950 to 1969.
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.
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 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.