The worst of the worst. The top of the National Priorities List (NPL). These hazardous sites are filled with carcinogens, neurotoxins and have been vacated to keep people safe.
If you need a reminder, Superfund sites are defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “thousands of contaminated sites (that) exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed.”
While many of these sites are located all around the country, we’ll focus on “The Buckeye State,” for this blog post. The following rankings are based on the EPA’s Hazard Ranking System (HRS). If you would like to learn more about this ranking system, you can read my last post explaining the HRS here.
So, here’s the top five most hazardous superfund sites in Ohio:
This site is located just outside of Dayton, Ohio. According to EPA.gov, the site is two and a half acres long and ranked a 69.33 on the HRS. It was once a chemical recycling facility, until a fire caused it to close down.
According to ToxicSites.us, “the facility had an above-ground storage capacity of over 500,000 gallons of chemical solvents,” including aromatic hydrocarbons, trichloroethylene and many more chemicals.
In 1985, the Ohio EPA discovered contaminated residential drinking water while sampling groundwater. It wasn’t until 2002 the U.S. EPA proposed the Lammers Barrel Factory be added to the NPL. It took another year for them to officially make it a Superfund site.
According to EPA.gov, cleanup of Superfund sites is “a complex, multi-phase process.” As you can see in the picture below, in 2011 a remedy for cleanup was selected. However, this process has yet to start. The EPA must first inform the public of what will be happening to the site.
Located in Miami County, Ohio, the United Scrap Lead (USL)Co., Inc. Superfund site stretches 25 acres. This site is ranked at a 58.15 on the HRS.
It was used from 1948 to 1980 to reclaim lead batteries, according to ToxicSites.us. EPA.gov says “an estimated 32,000 cubic yards of crushed battery cases were generated and used as fill material.” Battery acid and the rinse water were disposed of on site. These operations contaminated the soil at the site with lead.
There are about 20,000 people who live in the area of this site, according to ToxicSites.us. The water supply for the city of Troy is located two miles up gradient of the site.
In 2015, the EPA deemed the USL Co., Inc. site ready for reuse and redevelopment; however, it is still listed on the NPL. The EPA has ended its groundwater monitoring at the site, but the site’s groundwater is still restricted from use.
This Superfund site suits the birthplace of aviation. Between Dayton and Fairborn, Ohio lies the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB). It is ranked a 57.85 on the HRS—slightly below the USL Co., Inc. site.
According to EPA.gov, WPAFB is 8,100 acres in size with two sections. Area B consists of 2,400 acres with three old runways. It also contains primary research facilities. Area A encompasses 5,700 acres with “an active runway complex, warehouses, offices, industrial facilities and flight line support.”
An Installation Restoration Program (IRP) started at WPAFB in 1981. It consists of 65 sites or source areas including “13 landfills, 12 earth-fill disposal zones, nine fuel or chemical spill sites, six coal storage piles, five fire-training areas, four chemical burial sites, two underground storage tanks and miscellaneous other sites,” according to EPA.gov.
The WPAFB overlies the Mad River Buried Valley Aquifer, according to ToxicSites.us. This sole-source aquifer provides drinking water for about 500,000 people.
The Air Force has taken a majority of the responsibility for the site. They have received regulatory support from the Ohio EPA and the U.S. EPA. In 2012, the site was deemed ready for reuse and redevelopment, according to EPA.gov. The site is still on the NPL.