EPA gets assistance to clean site

Published 10:01 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

COAL GROVE — A subsidiary of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation has agreed to pay a portion of the environmental costs needed to rehabilitate the former Ford Brothers site it now owns along the Ohio River.

Business Development Properties, Inc., a two-year-old, for-profit offshoot of the LEDC, has offered to reimburse the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency part of the $186,000 the organization spent for soil remediation needed to improve the property.

The site sits on five-acres along Riverside Drive, just west of Pike Street in Coal Grove.

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“This successful soil cleanup is great news for Coal Grove, and I commend BDP for their willingness to help financially support the cleanup of this property,” said Ohio EPA Director Chris Korleski. “Without state funding, a potential threat to the environment and the public may have continued. Now, redevelopment is a real option.”

A specific amount of how much Business Development Properties, Inc. would pay the EPA was not available. The agency said an exact amount is pending based on ongoing site approval. Business Development Properties, Inc. purchased three different parcels totaling 4.72 acres in May 2008 at a sheriff’s sale.

The former Ford Brother’s sites are the only parcels Business Development Properties, Inc. currently owns, according to the Lawrence County Auditor’s Office.

BDP, Inc. and its non-profit twin, Industrial and Business Properties, Inc., were both incorporated 2007 and list Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce and LEDC as the agent. Phone messages left for Dingus were not returned as of press time.

Before BDP purchased a majority of the current property, the Ohio EPA had intended to file a lien on the four parcels that made up the site to recoup some of its cleanup costs.

When BDP subsequently purchased three of the four parcels, the company offered to pay for part of the soil remediation to improve the property’s value and ensure a clear title for future development.

The Ohio EPA recently filed a lien on the remaining fourth parcel and is considering further action to recoup additional cleanup costs from that parcel’s owner.

The site was once known as Tri-State Tank Cleaning and operated as a truck terminal and tanker-cleaning facility.

Between 1974 and 1992, the improper management of waste generated by the cleaning and maintenance of tractor trailer tanks released chlorinated solvents to the environment, namely trichloroethylene (TCE).

In 1992, Jenny L. Ford and J. Robert Ford signed a consent order with the state of Ohio to address hazardous waste violations at the Ford Brothers site.

However, the Fords did not implement the requirements. That same year, daily operations ceased and the facility was abandoned. The Fords filed for personal bankruptcy and subsequently could not be located.

In 1988, elevated levels of TCE were first detected in a drinking water well adjacent to the site. The contaminated well was taken out of service.