Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hilton Davis committee to travel to Columbus, pressure for cleanup

A Pleasant Ridge Community Council (PRCC) committee charged with advocating for a full cleanup of the Hilton Davis brownfield site is planning a trip to Columbus to put pressure on state legislators, and is encouraging local residents to do their part.

On July 22, PRCC's Hilton Davis Committee will travel with Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, Cincinnati City Councilmember Laure Quinlivan, and other local officials to meet with representatives of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) and the governor's office to request more comprehensive remediation of the 80-acre site at 2235 Langdon Farm Road.

The committee is also asking residents to call or e-mail their state elected officials.

The current plan by Eastman Kodak (through property-owning subsidiary North Pastoria Environmental Co.) is to cap the property, which is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from more than 50 years of chemical waste dumping in around Bloody Run Creek, with a thin layer of soil or asphalt. The plan is endorsed by the Ohio EPA.

But surrounding communities feel that the solution is a cost-saving measure and "a permanent tomb for toxic waste" that will lead to future contamination of air and groundwater, harming the surrounding residential neighborhoods. The property would remain an industrial wasteland, damaging redeveloping efforts and costing the City much-needed tax revenue, they say.

The Hilton Davis Committee has endorsed the utilization of "source reduction technologies" to the maximum extent possible, such as the installation of vacuum pumps to pull toxic vapors out of the ground and the excavation of lead hot spots.

The Ohio EPA has not issued a formal response since a February 25 public hearing at the Pleasant Ridge Community Center at which more than 150 people voiced their opposition to Eastman Kodak's plan.

The cities of Cincinnati and Norwood and the Village of Golf Manor all have passed resolutions supporting comprehensive remediation.

Community organizing

On July 29 at 7 p.m., national environmental activist Lois Gibbs, well known for her community organizing in Love Canal, N.Y. in the 1970s, will meet with residents at the Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Church, 5950 Montgomery Road.

Gibbs is the founder and executive director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, which seeks to form strong local organizations in order to protect neighborhoods from exposure to hazardous wastes.

Photo of the Riffe Center (right) courtesy of UrbanOhio.com.

Previous reading on BC:
Deadline approaching for Hilton Davis comments (3/23/10)
Cincinnati council supports comprehensive cleanup of Hilton Davis site (1/13/09)
PRCC asks residents to write Ohio EPA, governor (12/15/08)
Cincinnati to pay PRCC nearly $10K for Hilton Davis cleanup (6/18/08)
City may pay more funds for Hilton Davis (5/23/08)