Community input on Cytec needed

Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency were in Marietta Tuesday evening to accept official testimony arguing for or against the renewal of a hazardous waste permit for Cytec Industries, but no one from the community chose to speak up.

Cytec, which manufactured specialty chemicals at its 54-acre Greene Street plant in Marietta until 2002, has been cleaning up the contaminated area for the past several years.

Tuesday, representatives explained to citizens what the next steps were to clean the area, and asked concerned residents to submit comments to the agency to take into consideration before the Aug. 25 deadline. Three local residents attended the meeting at the Washington County Public Library.

“The renewal, it will be interesting to see if there’s any opposition to it because it is my understanding that if it is not renewed, work cannot be done,” said Ohio EPA Public Interest coordinator Mike Settles.

Donna Goodman, a representative from the area division of materials and waste management, said citizens have until Aug. 25 to submit comments to the EPA about granting a renewal, which will last another 10 years.

“Depending on the amount of comments we get, we hope that within 60 days of the comment period ending to be able to respond and issue or deny the permit renewal,” she said.

So far, the company, which used to manufacture specialty dyes and additives in Marietta, has been remedying the contaminated soil and ground water since the permit was issued in 2004, and if granted the renewal, will continue to clean up the area, including the re-capping of the plant’s landfill and other ponds used for disposal and storage.

Settles said he felt that it was unlikely for there to be much opposition to the renewal permit, which is needed every 10 years, because it only covered cleanup, and not the addition of more waste.

“There will be the installation of a clay slurry wall and keyed competent bedrock along west and south sides of the area,” said Dustin Tschudy, from the division of environmental response and revitalization. “That’s to prevent groundwater flow from reaching any of the waste.”

That work is likely to take place in a few months, according to the EPA.

Areas that were used for hazardous waste disposal where traces of hazardous chemicals like DDTs and lead were found have been cleaned out and capped throughout the past decade, and if the renewal goes through, the company will continue to perform long-term monitoring of the area and hydraulic control.

“We’ll be pumping groundwater from six different extraction walls to prevent further migration of constituents,” Tschudy said.

The continuing cleanup and hydraulic control is expected to be implemented in 2015, along with beautification projects that have already begun, as trees and grass have been planted in the area already along Duck Creek already.

Tschudy said Cytec could make the decision to use the land for other development if they chose, but right now the EPA was focused on cleaning the area, not developing it.

“We’re open to them using the site, but as far as chemicals go there will be restrictions,” he said. “There will be a covenant that will restrict site use to commercial and industrial uses.”

Goodman addressed persistent concerns that the site would be used for controversial practices like hydraulic fracturing, noting that any use of the facility for that purpose was not likely, but if it happened, it would be under the authority of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“If any kind of industry or business went there that could meet the environmental restrictions, it’s up to Cytec to decide if they want that there,” she said.

Though no one decided to submit formal testimony to the panel, comments can still be emailed or mailed to the EPA through Aug. 25.