Filtering out pollutants at DC Filter

W-T Realty breathes new life into building.
Andy Ouriel
Sep 23, 2013


It took Sandusky-based realtors more than two years to filter out pollutants rooted inside a previously blighted building.

But after a complete overhaul, including crews meticulously cleaning out the 32,000-square-foot site, the property formerly known as DC Filter & Chemical on Fifth Street is finally clean.

Executives at W-T Realty — a Sandusky-based real estate company managing about 1,000 housing units in Sandusky, Clyde, Huron and Fremont — began purchasing portions of the property in 2010, which included an on-site blighted building. They own the entire property today.

At least one building became a hazard because, over the past century, several different manufacturers produced potent, poisonous products from there.

Chief among them: DC Filter, operating from 1976 to 2011.

DC Filter workers stored large amounts of cleaning compounds, detergents and other chemicals for a now-defunct dry-cleaning business. Upon abandoning the area, DC Filter’s former owner left about 1,000 separate drums filled with toxins. “It took a year just to dispose of all the materials in here,” W-T Realty’s property manager Bob Waldock said. “The roof also blew off and was deteriorated.”

During the past two-plus years, Waldock oversaw dramatic on-site improvements, including: q Cleaning the entire 11 acres. q Repairing the roof. q Installing all new electricity, heaters and access to gas. q Painting the building’s interior and exterior. “This can be a storage facility, a center for manufacturing or a place where a distributor might need office space or storage,” Waldock said. “It can even be a place for boat storage because of the close proximity to the bay.”

While tedious, Waldock took pride in helping revitalize a contaminated property. “This is a successful brownfield site for the city and the state,” Waldock said. “We have something to show for it, and it’s something that can be rented and taxed. It can produce income for the area and has the potential to bring more jobs into the city of Sandusky.”

Waldock also took personal gratification in helping beautify this once-contaminated site. “We’re an old family from Sandusky, and we would like to see Sandusky prospser,” Waldock said. “If I tore down the building, I would have had very expensive land. Now, maybe it will attract some business.”

Waldock would not reveal how much of an investment W-T Realty made into the property.

The Erie County auditor’s website values the property, at 1517 Fifth St., near Dairy Queen by Cedar Point, at $102,000.

DC Filter’s cleanup represents a positive trend of removing or refining blights throughout Sandusky. In the past few months, crews have already demolished the Apex Building on First Street as well as razing Wisteria Farms on Campbell Street.

City officials also outlined plans to demolish the Keller Building on West Shoreline Drive and the Sandusky Cabinets property on East Washington Street in the coming years.

“When owners take responsibility of the maintenance of their buildings, it provides a measure of safety, not only for the occupants but for the surrounding residents,” Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci said.

Sandusky officials also played a role in completely cleaning up the former DC Filter and Chemical property on Fifth Street.

In early 2012 — with the help of thenstate Rep. Dennis Murray Jr., D-Sandusky — officials obtained a $250,000 state grant to pay for a thorough on-site assessment.

After the assessment occurred, city commissioners asked their environmental consultants in November to conduct an analysis of this property.

• Tested up to 50 on-site soil locations by digging about 20 feet below the surface for samples.

• Installed about 25 groundwater monitoring wells.

• Retrieved roughly 10 concrete chip samples. Workers drilled several inches deep into the concrete slab.

• Submitted tests to a certified Ohio analytical laboratory.

The result? A positive one.

For the first time in 90 years, someone finally thoroughly cleaned and ensured the site is safe for future development, according to a recent report generated by consultants, which the Register obtained through a public records request.

Sandusky taxpayers contributed an additional $8,000, in conjunction with Murray’s grant, to pay for the cleanup and assessment.


2cents's picture

I worked in that concrete building with the curved roof in 1973. We built four boats for Geauga Lake park, we built a plug, a mold and the four boats. There was a drain around the inside that drums of solvent dripped into, one day someone threw a cigarette but into the drain and poof! It was a little crazy, then there was the fertilizer plant next door, I remember something bubbling up from the ground around pipes, they said do not touch it is acid and it was hot and fuming. It is nice to see that cleaned up now. Good job!


Kudos for a job well done. Nice to see a blighted area cleaned up. I hope something nice will come of the area.

AJ Oliver

The Register should publish the NAMES of polluters. According to the Chamber of Commerce web site, the owner of DC Filter is/was one Gary Morey.


Not quite sure what Rep. Murray had to do with it. Didn't the City apply for the grant to clean-up?


"Didn't the City apply for the grant to clean-up?"

Was any taxpayer money used to clean up the property? In a similar case, the bank went after the estate of the former owner of Ultimate Industries, Inc. In that case, it appears that the bank took over the property, put a hole in the roof and allowed usable chemicals in 55 gallon drums that could have been sold to freeze.


I don't recall the City investing money in this property, not to say they won't fall victim of a scam to clean up someone else's mess---again

AJ Oliver

Of COURSE our taxpayers' money was used in the clean up. That's what privatizing profits and socializing costs is all about - another name for it is "welfare for the well off". Funny how the righties never complain about it . .


Thank you AJ for the heads up. One of my peeves is welfare for the rich. The rich get richer and get free public dollars. One set of rules for the rich and another set of rules for the commoners.

I believe that the former Apex property is also getting public dollars to clean up plus they get a huge property tax discount.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I do find it hypocritical when, per your example, a wealthy Republican farmer complains that a poor, unemployed Democrat gets welfare yet he expects a farm bill to be passed every year. There's minutiae to each circumstance, but I would like to see neither receive money because they have actually been taught how to catch the fish, proverbially speaking.

I would imagine it isn't complained about by "righties" because from their perspective they are "business incentives" that then go on to produce more jobs, development, etc. It is an incentive to promote positive behavior whereas they see welfare an incentive to not do anything to change your predicament. Just flip it around for "lefties'" views I'm sure. I can clearly see that side of the coin, too.

But pining over the things after the fact doesn't fix the root cause for the need (perceived or real) of these programs to be around. We're spending a chunk of our paychecks on Allegra every month because we work in a flower shop and have pollen allergies. So long as the symptoms are hidden then why bother addressing the cause? It's cheaper every month to buy pills than overhaul the HVAC with HEPA filters and provide masks for everyone.

...or we just get a new job/system? I'm for that one. Granted, of course, it is a weaning process with each step slowly taken, researched, and explained. None of this omnibus, 3,000 page stuff. Thoughts? There's enough bipartisan frustration out there to get behind actual movements like this I think.