Ohio EPA Plans to Recover East Cleveland Dump Cleanup Costs, Director Says

A pile of debris rises above East Cleveland homes in January 2017.
A pile of debris rises above East Cleveland homes in January 2017. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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The Ohio EPA says it will spend $6 million to clean up a huge pile of debris site in East Cleveland that was branded as a recycling center for construction material.

But some questions are yet unresolved: What will happen to the property after cleanup, and will the state recoup its expenses from local agencies and contractors?

Earlier this year, the state EPA cited Arco Recycling for “illegal disposal of construction and demolition debris,” saying the pile was growing bigger, not smaller. The agency ordered the company to shut the site down and clean it up.

Arco appealed that order, and the two parties were set to file a status update with a state commission by next week.

Now the state EPA will spend millions to clear away the pile of refuse that sits right next to a residential street.

State EPA Director Craig Butler says his agency will try to recover the money from what he calls “responsible parties.”

“They are a lot of contractors, companies, municipalities, land banks and others that had brought material to this location for it to be processed and or recycled,” Butler said in an interview Friday. “And even though they did that—they believe they did that legitimately, we believe they still have some liability.”

The first phase of cleanup will take about 100 days. The second phase is estimated to last 10 months.

Butler says the agency, the company and the city of East Cleveland will sort out what happens to the property after cleanup.

“And that will include discussions with the property owner about how they contribute resources to our cleanup,” he said, “which may include sale and or other donation of the property, or something of that sort.”

An attorney for Arco Recycling declined to comment.

Updated 6/4/17 at 4:18 p.m.

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