Akron residents have concerns about neighborhood EPA 'Superfund' site security

EPA reports clean-up at site on schedule

AKRON, Ohio - The clean-up at the Environmental Protect Agency Superfund site on Ivor Avenue in Akron has been ongoing since 1987. Toxic chemicals forced the removal of tons of soil at the site, and ground water monitoring at a cost of $11 million.

The EPA's most recent report on the site clean-up in 2013 clearly indicates the site clean-up is on schedule.

However residents living near the site, like Mary Martin, are concerned the fenced in property is too often the victim of vandals and illegal dumping.

"As a homeowner I'm concerned about what goes on in this neighborhood," said Martin.

"I think it should be patrolled. Like I said I had to call before because there were 15 propane tanks dumped down there. Furniture, trash, I've seen people drag tree limbs and trees and stuff down there and dump it."

Dan Drainer grew up near the 7.5 acre site; he believes some of the people who moved into the southwest Akron neighborhood over the past 10 years are unaware of the clean-up.

Drainer believes more markings and signs need to be put up around the site.

"Maybe a little more community awareness about the situation," said Drainer. "I'm sure a lot of the residents around here don't know anything about it at all."

Steven Menser was also raised near the Superfund site, he also believes there are too many people trespassing on the now restricted property.

"There's not enough signs," said Menser. "All the signs are rusted out, you can't even read them. There's a big hole in the fence over there."

Matthew Berdyck told NewsChannel5 he played as child at the property before toxic chemicals were found at the location 27 years ago.

Berdyck hopes fencing at the site is maintained, even though the EPA stated it's no longer needed in its most recent 5 year report.

"In regards to the fencing, I would like to see it stay where it is," said Berdyck. "The recent report said they're thinking about taking the fence out. The EPA says there's no reason for that fence to be there."

Berdyck believes more must be done to promote awareness at EPA Superfund sites like the Akron site and sites across the country.

Berdyck produced a short documentary on the Akron site , posting the piece on YouTube, insisting more testing is needed.

Berdyck believes residents living near these sites need to be more active in monitoring the ongoing clean-up, based on how many Superfund sites are here in the United States .

"If you placed a hot dog stand on top of all 1,300 toxic waste dumps in residential neighborhood EPA Superfund sites, you would immediately have a fast food chain the size of Denny's," said Berdyck.

NewsChannel5 contacted the EPA District 5 office in Chicago and Ward 9 Akron Councilman Mike Freeman about the neighborhood concerns, and both responded immediately.

The EPA District 5 Office would not say if or when the security fence at the site would be coming down, and issued the following statement:

Before U.S. EPA cleaned up the Summit Equipment and Supplies Site, it was fenced to prevent access and potential exposure to contamination.  In 1987, U.S. EPA took a series of cleanup actions to remove contaminated soils, debris and unexploded ordnance from an area near the Castle Apartments complex and Lake Nesmith beach. As a result, trespassers will not be exposed to contamination. There are also restrictions on how the land may be developed in the future.

The site is currently fenced to prevent vandalism. The fence and signs are no longer needed to prevent exposures to contamination.  OEPA verified that the gate was locked as of July 16, 2014.  Site maintenance and repairs are done twice a year. 

At the time of the cleanup, U.S. EPA took water samples from Nesmith Lake and additional sampling is not warranted at this time.  Questions regarding water quality of Lake Nesmith or other area water bodies can be directed to OEPA Northeast District Division of Surface Water at (330) 963-1200

Meanwhile Councilman Freeman told NewsChannel5 he'll turn over reports of illegal dumping at the site directly to Akron's Department of Neighborhood Assistance. Freeman wants residents who have issues with the Ivor Avenue EPA Superfund site to contact his office .

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