Ohio EPA warns of carcinogen release By: Jeffrey L. FrischkornStaff Writer 04/16/2004 Hexavalent chromium finds its way from capped lagoon into Grand River An accidental discharge March 30 of hexavalent chromium - a known human carcinogen - into the Grand River at the former Diamond Shamrock property in Painesville Township has state environmental protection officials cautioning the public to avoid the area. The release site is on private property between the Uniroyal plant and the former Diamond Shamrock land, south of Fairport Nursery Road in Painesville Township. This area is popular with steelhead-trout fishermen, but is not part of the proposed Hemisphere brownfield redevelopment project. Linda Oros, spokeswoman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, said the discharge was reported by Tierra Solutions, which was responsible for the incident, as well as by the Uniroyal Co. "But not enough was released into the Grand River where we believe there was a problem, but the release did exceed our standards," Oros said. The chromium-containing liquid originated from a capped lagoon and then migrated off the site through a drainage swale that discharges directly into the Grand River. The material was left over from when the Diamond Shamrock Plant was in operation. On Monday, concentrations of the hexavalent chromium - found within the drainage swale - exceeded Ohio's water quality standards, Oros said. At first, peat moss was placed in an effort to reduce the hexavalent chromium to a less toxic state. "It did not work as successfully as we had hoped, so earlier this week, we ordered Tierra to immediately address the release and stop it from leaving the property," said Teri Phillips, an Ohio EPA environmental specialist. Oros also said her agency is requiring those responsible "take emergency action to address" the discharge issue. Remedial action consists of company contractors building an interceptor trench to collect the contaminated liquid and to stop the discharge into the drainage swale. Once collected, the contaminated liquid then will be pumped into a tank until it can be properly treated and disposed of. A more permanent solution is also required, Oros said. "To date, no apparent impact to the Grand River has been observed," Oros said. She added that the Ohio EPA expects dilution from the rain-swollen Grand River to minimize any impact. Even so, the Ohio EPA is making two specific recommendations for the public to observe. They are to avoid: n Any contact with the contaminated liquid, which is bright lime green in color n The drainage swale, which is on private property "We do know that the steelhead trout are running in the river, but that it's private property anyway and (fishermen) shouldn't be there," Oros said. The Ohio EPA continues to monitor the cleanup effort to ensure the contamination is contained and properly removed for disposal, Oros said. Oros also said Tierra was issued a notice of violation, detailing which state rules were violated. "We will evaluate what happened, but right now, our focus is on the cleanup," Oros said. A spokesman for Tierra was unavailable for comment.