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Coal Grove delays grant after waste fears

After learning of potentially hazardous materially at the abandoned Carlisle Tile factory, the Coal Grove Village Council opted not to apply for a Clean Ohio grant but will contact the Environmental Protection Agency immediately.

Photographs were presented to council showing by-product materials bagged with environmental warnings. Chemicals named on the bags include Dibenza Anthracene and Benzo [a] Pyrene. OSHA lists both as hazardous materials.

Although everyone on the Council want to see the old factory removed, attorney Mark McCown said he could not recommend applying for the funds at this time.

"Based on the information presented to me, it is not in the best interest of the village to submit an application for liability reasons," he said.

The Council was approached last week at the regular meeting about applying for a $10 million grant to analyze potential sites for the grant. Matt Wagner, representing SRW Environmental Services Inc., Milford, Ohio, and Russ Painter, representing current owner McGinnis, Inc., South Point, proposed the idea.

The Council tabled the issue until a special meeting Monday to allow McCown to examine the application. Neither Painter nor Wagner attended the special session.

In the application, the village had to sign that no hazardous materials are located at or have been added to the property by anyone applying for the grant.

"We certainly cannot sign any form saying that we know there is no hazardous materials there," Mayor Tom McKnight said after seeing pictures of the questionable material. "We need to know why it was in there and if it is hazardous."

McKnight said Painter told him it was not hazardous but they were still not comfortable signing the application.

Painter said the material is rod pitch, a by-product of coal tar, and is not a hazardous waste but does require personal protection equipment when handling. The material was in the building when they bought it three years ago and was stored for Riley Industries, Indianapolis.

This material is used everyday around the world in factories. It should have no bearing on the grant application, he said.

Don McGinnis, chemist for the company, said it is only hazardous if exposed to it and more than 80 percent has been removed.

Also, the company has reported it every year in accordance with the Community Right To Know Act.

However, for now all plans to apply for the grant are on hold, McKnight said.

"Until we can get this resolved, we can not proceed," he said. "We will let the EPA tell us what to do."

The Ohio Department of Development administers about $50 million in Clean Ohio Revitalization Funds for revitalization of Brownfields, former industrial sites, each year.

This program was originally proposed in 2000 by Gov. Bob Taft and can only be used for site assessment and clean up of former industrial sites. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune