The Ohio Controlling Board approved an additional $3.25 million to help clean up a former East Cleveland, Ohio, construction and demolition (C&D) recycling site turned illegal dumping ground, Cleveland.com reports.
The six-acre dump site was purchased by Arco recycling in 2015 from the city of East Cleveland. The site was to be used to recycle C&D debris, such as concrete, wood and metal. However, residents began to issue complaints starting in 2016, claiming that illegal debris in the dump was causing health issues for neighboring citizens.
Subsequent inspections of the site found refuse piled four stories high and little of the on-site materials showed signs of being recycled. Later tests showed the presence of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas.
In January 2017, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the facility to be closed due to the presence of toxic contamination. In October 2017, the site caught fire, possibly from material decomposition resulting in a hot spot.
The Ohio EPA has already issued $6 million to clean up the contamination. Cleanup began in July 2017, and is expected to finish in the next couple of months. The cleanup project is being expedited to help prevent another fire, according to the report.
The state is looking to recover taxpayer money spent on the cleanup of the site, which totals over $10 million in all. A lien has been placed on the Arco site, and the state’s attorney general’s office is pursuing legal action.