Springfield City Commission reaches agreement to clean up Tremont Barrel Fill

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield City Commission has reached an agreement to clean up the toxic waste at the Tremont Barrel Fill located on 3108 Snyder Road.

According to a release, the plan provides a roadmap for cleaning up the toxic waste at the fill site near Springfield’s aquifer.

The clean-up plan is a crucial step in collective efforts to protect the region’s water supply, the release states.

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At Tuesday’s Springfield City Commission meeting, Mayor Warren Copeland announced plans to clean up the barrel fill.

Laura Kaffenbarger lived about a mile away from the toxic landfill in the 1970′s, where she quickly learned that the EPA approved the landfill that had 50 waste cells underground, after smelling a chlorine-like smell in her basement.

According to the EPA, those 50 cells held more than a million gallons of toxins. The toxins include glues, resins, paint, detergents, asbestos, and oils.

Two years later, after the disposal stopped in 1980, Kaffenbarger formed Citizens for Water, an activist group that worked with city leaders to investigate the chemical landfill.

“There weren’t the hazardous waste laws back then that they had to go by,” Kaffenbarger told News Center 7′s Haley Kosik.

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In 1997, the EPA confirmed that those toxins were eating away at the container holding them and could soon leak into the ground.

“No one’s really comfortable with just sitting on that threat, we know it’s a problem. The EPA has done testing, they know some of the chemicals that are in there. One of the things about this landfill though is that we have a pretty good idea of what’s in those 50 different cells.” Chris Cook, assistant health commissioner of the Clark County Combined Health District said.

According to the city of Springfield, a record of decision was finalized in 2018 between the community, the EPA, and potential responsible parties, which determined the plan for the clean-up of the landfill.

The EPA and DOJ began negotiations with potential responsible parties in 2019.

“Having this consent decree in place is an essential and significant stage in our community’s effort to resolve the Barrel Fill issue and safeguard our water,” said David Estrop, Springfield city commissioner. “While there is more work ahead of us, I commend the People for Safe Water, community leaders, and the key players in the consent decree for their efforts in bringing us to this vital next step. We did it!”

The consent decree, a court ordered negotiated agreement between two parties, is to be signed by the EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and seven companies responsible for the toxic waste at the site, which is due for submission by Apr. 6 to the DOJ. The decree will then be submitted to the U.S. District Court of Southern Ohio to be finalized.

The clean-up plan is projected to cost 20 million dollars.

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