Landfill added to list of hazardous sites

New Carlisle -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added an aging landfill in Bethel Twp. to its national priorities list of sites of known or threatened releases of hazardous substances.

Being placed on the list makes it a priority for cleanup through the EPA's Superfund Program, which investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. The former landfill is the first and only such site in Clark County to make the list.

Locates just outside the New Carlisle city limits at 715 N. Dayton Lakeview Road, the site was in operation from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s and is between 12 and 21 acres in size. It is now covered with two to four feet of clay, but was not designed with a protective liner and may be leaking vinyl chloride, a suspected carcinogen.

Last year when the Ohio EPA proposed the site for the list, a project coordinator with the agency, Matt Justice, said investigators had already found the chemical in four wells in the area and suspected the site was the source.

The levels of the chemical found in the affected wells did not present an acute environmental hazard, Justice said, and those wells have been out of service since 2005, when the U.S. EPA paid to have a New Carlisle municipal water line extended to the area.

But the site was added to the list because the vinyl chloride could still migrate to residential wells within a half-mile of the site, according to a release circulated by the EPA Wednesday, April 8.

"It could potentially affect 15 residential wells," said Eric Islas, site assessment manager with U.S. EPA. "The next step with a site like this is to determine the nature and extent of the contamination."

Islas said it is too early to say when the cleanup will begin or how much it will ultimately cost.

David Phares, president of the township's board of trustees, said he was pleased the site was placed on the list because it meant it was one step closer to getting cleaned up.

"This let's us know someone's looking into it," Phares said. "In Bethel Township and western Clark County, we've got an abundant amount of water, and we need to do everything we can to protect it."