Smelly dirt not a hazard, EPA says

Smell at Lake Point Park came from traces of gas or coal, but there's no hazard, Ohio EPA says DANBURY TWP. Where moun
May 24, 2010


Smell at Lake Point Park came from traces of gas or coal, but there's no hazard, Ohio EPA says


Where mounds of soil dot the entrance to Lake Point Park, an intruding smell mixes in with the pine needles and fresh air.

That smell was described as "strong petroleum odors," according to a complaint filed through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Emergency Response Unit.

The EPA later determined the soil was taken from a construction site across downtown Marblehead, at the former site of District Petroleum, a fuel distribution depot.

Developer Bob Keller, who owns the property, is building a strip mall on the site.

Several calls were placed to Keller's residence, none of which were returned by Friday.

According to documents released to the Register, Ken Gill Construction Co., of Port Clinton, which excavated and later dumped the soil at the park, was given a notice of violation for "failing to evaluate the soil for hazardous substances."

The dumping violates a federal hazardous waste law, which sets standards for sampling material and for storing and disposing of hazardous wastes, EPA spokeswoman Dina Pierce said.

The soil was later tested and found to be safe, Pierce said.

According to the EPA, the soil at the park contained traces of petroleum, gas and/or coal, but was found to be "non-hazardous."

Dave Gill, president of Ken Gill Construction, said the EPA notice of violation was premature since Keller had done several environmental samples before the dirt was excavated and moved.

The tests had determined that the soil was not contaminated, Gill said.

"Why would we take it to a public park if we thought it was contaminated?" Gill said. "That wouldn't be a very smart, logical thing to do. You just don't do that."

Gill said the EPA did not know about the previous soil test since the developer was not required to show proof of that.

Despite the "premature" notice of violation, Gill said it was a relief that the second test exonerated the company.

"What if the first didn't reveal it (contamination)?" Gill said. "I'm glad everything proved fine."

Lake Point Park was not the only dumping site that was cleared of soil contamination.

Ken Gill Construction excavated the soil from the construction site and dumped soil Sept. 4 at three sites: Sackett Cemetery, Lake Point Park and Cottage Cove.

Gill said he was given permission to dump the soil at the cemetery and park from a Danbury Township road superintendent.

Danbury Township, which owns the park and cemetery, will use the soil as fill, said Dianne Rozak, Danbury Township trustee.

Gill owns Cottage Cove, a single-family housing development.