CITIZEN CONTACT: Kristopher Weiss

This is the corrected version of this news release. It corrects the borders description in paragraph two.

Ohio EPA Seeks Comments on Urban Setting Designation for Land in Akron

Ohio EPA is considering a request to grant an Urban Setting Designation (USD) for land located around the Bridgestone America Technical Operations Center and Firestone Park Area in Akron. The Agency is seeking public comments before making a final decision.

The request was submitted by Burgess and Niple Inc. on behalf of the city of Akron. The proposed USD area is approximately 484 acres and is bordered by Ira Avenue to the north, West Wilbeth Road to the south, Kenmore Boulevard/Ohio Erie Canal to the west and South Main Street to the east.

Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP), contaminated ground water must be treated if it poses a risk to the community or environment. However, if there is no current or anticipated future use of that ground water (for drinking, bathing, cooking), a USD may be requested.

A USD recognizes that cleaning up the ground water to drinking water standards is not necessary because no one will be drinking the ground water. Other possible exposures to contaminated ground water (such as exposures to wildlife or streams in the area) still must be addressed even when a USD is granted.

Granting a USD would reduce ground water cleanup requirements, lower costs and promote economic redevelopment while still protecting public health and the environment. Ohio EPA can approve the USD if a state-certified environmental professional verifies that USD requirements are met and existing or future ground water uses have been evaluated.

Under the VAP, a volunteer may clean up contaminated property in Ohio without the risk of state civil liability. A certified professional must review the cleanup to verify that it meets VAP standards before Ohio EPA issues a covenant not to sue. Ohio EPA has access to cleaned-up properties and documents and audits at least one-fourth of the properties to confirm that cleanup standards are met.

Written comments concerning Firestone Park USD application may be sent to Mike Bolas, Ohio EPA Northeast District Office, 2110 East Aurora Road, Twinsburg, Ohio 44087. Public comments received by April 12, 2012, will be considered before a final decision is made.

The USD application is available for review by first calling (330) 963-1200.

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