Cincinnati Receives Covenant Not to Sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program for Proposed Commerce Park

The city of Cincinnati has received a covenant not to sue under Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) for the 18.7-acre property that was formerly the site of Queen City Barrel and F.H. Lawson Co. in addition to other businesses.

Following an environmental investigation, the covenant was issued to the city for the property located at Evans, Gest and West Eighth streets. The site has been used for a variety of business and manufacturing since the 1860s. Following a fire at Queen City Barrel in 2004, Cincinnati began acquiring the land with plans to redevelop it as Metrowest Commerce Park.

Following standards developed by Ohio EPA, Cincinnati hired a certified professional to assess the property and address any areas of environmental concern. During the investigation, a number of areas were identified where the soil required remediation. Some soil was removed for disposal while other soils were consolidated and buried.

The city plans to add an environmental covenant to limit uses of the property. The covenant limits property use to commercial and industrial uses and prohibits use of ground water under the property.

A covenant not to sue protects the property’s owners or operators and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further environmental investigation and remediation relating to known releases. This protection applies only when the property is used and maintained in accordance with the terms and conditions of the covenant.

In the 18 years since Ohio EPA issued the first covenant under VAP, more than 8,000 acres of blighted land have been revitalized at nearly 400 sites across the state.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.