Wednesday, May 5, 2004

EPA will explain Liberty cleanup

Meeting details removing soil laden with lead

By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LIBERTY TWP. - Nearly a year after Lexington Manor was declared a Superfund site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will explain the subdivision's lead cleanup plan at a town hall meeting tonight.

Excavation began two weeks ago on Greater Cincinnati's largest residential lead contamination site. Tainted soil has been removed from six of the 32 contaminated yards, said Winfield Ziegenfuss Jr., Ryland Homes vice president.

What: U.S. EPA meeting on the Lexington Manor cleanup
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Liberty Township building, 6400 Princeton Road.
Ryland has agreed to remove and treat up to 25,000 tons of contaminated soil by August, says Steve Renninger, U.S. EPA on-scene coordinator.

Only two families remain in the 42 homes built since 2001 on what was the Hamilton Sportsman's Association skeet-shooting range until 1969.

Renninger declared Lexington Manor a Superfund site last May 8, calling it "a threat to public health or the environment."

Soil samples analyzed after homeowners sued Ryland last year showed toxic lead levels of up to 10,000 parts per million. The federal standard for residential land is 400 parts per million.

Renninger will detail the remediation work and safety precautions at 7 p.m. in the township hall, 6400 Princeton Road.

The contaminated soil is being trucked to the back yard of 5910 Furlong Way, where it will be treated with an additive so the lead doesn't leach, Ziegenfuss said.

"Then it's considered nonhazardous waste," Renninger said. The dirt then will be hauled to the Epperson Waste Disposal landfill in Williamstown, Ky., or Rumpke in Colerain Township, Ziegenfuss said.

Replacement dirt won't be trucked in until new soil samples are taken and analyzed, Renninger said. More than 15,000 soil samples were taken after Ryland agreed on Aug. 14 to pay for the cleanup.

Air monitoring devices have been placed around the 26-acre perimeter "to make sure no lead dust is leaving the site," Renninger said. If a monitor registers a certain level, the area will be sprayed with water, Renninger said.

So far, the problem has been too much rain, which has delayed work.

Most excavations will be 2 feet deep or less, with several 4 to 5 feet deep, according to Ryland's work plan. Behind homes on Palomino Lane and Back Trail Court is a 19-foot-deep location where lead was buried by the site developer, Ziegenfuss said.

Ryland will pay about $2.5 million for the cleanup, and in addition has repurchased 27 homes for $7.88 million.

None of the two-story homes - ranging in value from $199,000 to $354,000 - will be demolished. Ryland plans to put the homes back on the market this fall.


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