Thursday, April 1, 2004

EPA assays role in lead case

Agency to contact Camargo Club on plan to clean up at Country Day

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

INDIAN HILL - Federal environmental officials said Wednesday they will contact owners of the Camargo Club about their proposal to remove toxic lead that has contaminated nearby Cincinnati Country Day School's athletic fields.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on-scene coordinator Steven Renninger said he has spoken with Country Day officials about the lead shotgun pellets that have fallen on parts of two nearby baseball fields for decades, and what role the EPA might play in the cleanup of the contaminated soil at the private school.

"It could be a supervisory role overseeing the cleanup," similar to the federal agency's current oversight of an estimated $2.5 million lead removal project from the Lexington Manor subdivision in Butler County's Liberty Township, said Renninger.

The EPA also is conducting a $2 million project to remove lead from school grounds at Kings junior and senior high school in Warren County, also caused by pellets from a private shooting range.

But Renninger has been unable to contact Camargo Club officials to begin talks. The private Indian Hill club has operated a golf course and a skeet-shooting range along the western border of Country Day's 65 acre-campus off Given Road since 1926.

School officials have publicly said Camargo has agreed to pay for the as-yet undetermined cost of the cleanup and restoration of the two baseball fields, which are now fenced off. Camargo officials have not responded to repeated messages from the Enquirer seeking comment.

Jeff Clark, assistant head of school for Country Day, gazed over the closed ball fields Wednesday and said the majority of the shooting at the private range is done parallel to the school's property border, and that test results show the lead contamination extends only a short distance into that one corner of the school's campus.

Clark said that shooting occurs only on weekends between late October and early March, and that the baseball diamonds, which are two of the school's eight athletic fields, are deserted during that time. He said Camargo officials have said all shooting at the club has been suspended since September.


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