ENON — The Enon Drinking Water Source Protection (DWSP) Committee has engaged in an open dialog with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as another means of protecting the village’s wellfield.
During a recent DWSP Committee meeting, which was held Feb. 24 at the Enon Government Center, Enon Water Department Superintendent Steve Durall discussed the most recent correspondence with Chuck Mellon, Senior Site Coordinator at the Ohio EPA Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization. The DWSP Committee had previously asked Mellon to attend a committee meeting to answer a list of questions they had compiled regarding the property located at 2601 Enon Road, which is adjacent to the village’s wellfield.
The property was once owned by REM Investments, Inc. and formally housed the Muncy Corporation facility. According to the Clark County Auditor’s records, Enon businessman James O. Miller purchased the two parcels from the Muncy Corporation for $290,000 in May 2012 and still owned the property at the time of his death in September 2016.
During the correspondence with Mellon, the committee inquired about ongoing litigations between the EPA and defendants John D. Muncy and James O. Miller. In October 2015, the state filed a complaint against the defendants as the parties responsible for the on-site ground water contamination at the 2601 Enon Road location. Durall noted that REM, Inc. was not named as a defendant because the company had dissolved pursuant to Ohio Corporation Law. In December 2016, the court ordered the administrator of the Miller estate to substitute as the defendant.
Count #1 of the complaint seeks payment of unpaid response cost from Miller after the Ohio EPA made several unsuccessful attempts to gain legal access to the property in order to obtain water samples from monitoring wells on the site.
Count #2 of the complaint seeks injunctive relief to require Muncy to comply with a Dec. 29, 2006 director’s final finding and orders, which requires operation and maintenance of the ozone sparging system for groundwater remediation at the site.
Count #3 seeks injunctive relief that would require both defendants to abate the ongoing groundwater contamination. In addition, count #3 and the remaining counts require both defendants to perform a site-wide investigation and remedy for the contamination on the site and in the ground water.
Durall stated that counsel for Muncy filed a Motion to Dismiss in January 2016 for which the court has not rendered a ruling thus far. Counsel for the Miller estate stated that he would obtain an access agreement from the estate that would allow the Ohio EPA to sample the existing on-site monitoring wells.
“According to Mr. Mellon, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is working with counsel for the Miller estate to obtain the access agreement. The state plans to present a claim to the estate, seeking the costs of site-wide investigation and remedy,” Durall said. “The EPA also provided a copy of the actual filed complaint and the order substituting the estate,”
In reply to the DWSP Committee’s inquiry to when the EPA last collected and analyzed water samples from the Miller property, Mellon reported that the last sampling event occurred in June 2012, in which the EPA collected water samples from the source compliance well MW-6.
The committee asked Mellon if the Ohio EPA had any reason to believe that the monitoring wells on the property had been removed or filled. Mellon said the state agency had no reason to believe the wells had been abandoned.
The Enon DWSP Committee also asked, if enforcement is successful, what the Ohio EPA would recommend in order to remediate these impacts. Mellon said the state agency would likely request that an ozone sparging system be implemented and/or would call for another remediation technology that would prohibit the use of groundwater on the site.
“We got to be kept in the loop and have an open line of communications with the EPA, said Enon Mayor Tim Howard who chairs the DWSP committee. “The buck stops with us. That is the bottom line.”
In March 1994, the Ohio EPA and Muncy Corporation entered into agreed orders with the objective to control the source of groundwater contamination that was discovered at the Muncy Corporation property. According to the EPA’s finding of facts, the Muncy Corporation engaged McLaren/Hart to proceed with site characterization and remediation under the 1994 orders. In 1996, the focus site characterization identified volatile organic compound (VOC) contamination in both the ground water and the soil at the site.
Because of this discovery, the Muncy Corporation, which then had sold all of its assets to E & W Enterprises and changed its name to REM Investments, Inc., relocated a rainwater downspout at the site that the company believed was contributing to groundwater mounding and flushing of VOC contaminants beneath the facility.
The company, which continued to operate the facility under the Muncy Corporation name, also excavated approximately 150 tons of soils in an area believed to be the source of VOC contamination. However, laboratory analyses of the excavated soils did not show that the soils were the source of the VOCs contaminating groundwater at the site.
The EPA findings showed that the Muncy Corporation moved forward in 1997 and submitted a proposal to the Ohio EPA that detailed plans and specifications for the injection of Fenton’s Reagent, which consisted of hydrogen peroxide and ferrous iron, to oxidize and destroy the VOCs at the source site. The EPA eventually approved the proposal, and the Fenton’s Reagent remediation began. Following three injections of the Fenton’s Reagent, the VOC concentrations in monitoring well MW-6 decreased from 959 ug/l (micrograms per liter) to 123 ug/l. At that time, the Ohio EPA designated well MW-6 as the compliance well.
On April 13, 2006, the Ohio EPA issued a letter to the company’s counsel, confirming an agreement to shut down the ozone sparging system and to begin post-remedial monitoring of compliance well MW-6. John D. Muncy, president of the company, and the director of the Ohio EPA signed the agreement in December of that year.
“When the compliance well went out of compliance, the EPA took action,” Howard said.