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Stark County Property Receives Covenant Not to Sue Under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program
Groffre Investments has received a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) after investigating and remediating the former J&L Steel Lagoons property in Louisville.
The property at 1500 West Main Street, Louisville, consists of about 209.55 acres previously used as storage lagoons by J&L Specialty Products Corp., Jones & Laughlin Steel and Superior Sheet Steel. The property is owned by Chesapeake Land Development Company, LLC; Seventy Seven Land Company, LLC; and the city of Louisville.
Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, Groffre Investments hired a certified professional to assess the property and address areas of environmental concern. Twenty-two areas were investigated. Five categories of chemicals of concern were identified, including volatile organic compounds, Semion-volatile organic compounds, total petroleum hydrocarbons, metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Extensive PCB-contaminated liquid and soil remediation work has been performed on the property to meet requirements in state and federal rules. Clean fill was added in some areas to meet commercial and industrial contact standards, and an environmental covenant was put in place for the property to restrict the use of ground water and limit property uses to commercial and industrial land uses. A Risk Mitigation Plan (RMP) has been proposed for areas that do not meet standards for construction and excavation. The covenant requires the RMP to demonstrate and maintain compliance with standards for exposures to construction and excavation workers during any future construction or excavation activities.
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 relating to known releases. The protection applies only when the property is used and maintained according to the terms and conditions of the covenant.
In the 19 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant not to sue under the VAP program, more than 8,800 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 450 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.