April 30, 2018
The state’s Environmental Protection Agency is investigating unknown chemicals found in discarded drums left behind by a former ink manufacturer.
As News5Cleveland reports, inspectors from both the US and Ohio EPA “converged on a shuttered factory in Euclid” to start testing unknown chemicals discovered in over 100 55-gallon drums left behind by a former manufacturer of ink and protective coatings.
A spokesman for the Ohio branch of the EPA “emphasised that there is no immediate threat to public safety” and that the priority is to “stabilise the barrels to make sure they don’t leak.”
He also cited the importance of making sure none of the chemicals in the drums are “potentially hazardous”, which it appears could possibly be the case.
“We will continue to work with the property owners, the US EPA and environmental contractors to best stabilize the drums,” the spokesman said. “If the property owner allows us access, we are prepared to begin work immediately.”
State records seem to indicate that the chemicals have been housed in the drums on the property for over a year, with satellite imagery appearing to show that they were placed in their position at the back of the building in 2016. At the time, the factory was owned by Technology Properties LLC; previous to this, a company called Ink Big Corp also operated out of the property, manufacturing inks for printer cartridges as well as protective coatings.
Some of the labels on the barrels name Ink Big as the owner.
Ink Big “dissolved in 2007” but Technology Properties LLC continued to own the property until last year; the property then went through “a forfeited land sale where it was purchased by Greg Gibson and his wife Shannon, who said the property “has been nothing short of a disaster”.
“It’s a nightmare. We’re dealing with a nightmare right now on our hands,” Gibson said.
The barrels were discovered following an unannounced inspection by the Ohio EPA in February this year, when it was discovered that many of the barrels were leaking their unknown chemicals “into the soil or storm water that had ponded on the property.”
The prior owner, Ron Ryavec, has not been contactable.
Testing the chemicals in the barrels could prove to be a very costly endeavour, with Gibson revealing that having just 66 of them tested would cost $33,000 (€27, 200). Initially the couple had planned to renovate the property and possibly put it back on the market; the discovery of the barrels and their chemicals has put these plans on hold. The Ohio EPA spokesman said it was too early to comment on who would foot the bill for their clean-up, noting that first it needed to stabilise the barrels and then determine what is inside them and “the best way to deal with the situation.”
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