Today, Ohio EPA Director Laurie A. Stevenson ordered Mount Vernon to begin removing drinking water treatment material from a storage site in Mount Vernon.
In June 2022, Mount Vernon received approval from Ohio EPA to beneficially use the drinking water treatment material, which is a lime material. The material was tested to demonstrate it meets applicable beneficial use standards and can be land applied to sites as an agronomic beneficial use alternative to mined lime. However, in mid-June Ohio EPA received an anonymous citizen complaint that the lime material was not stored onsite at the water treatment plant, but at city-owned property close to the water treatment plant.
Ohio EPA investigated the complaint and found approximately 30,000 dry tons of lime material had been removed from the drinking water plant’s onsite lagoon and stored at an offsite storage site. The site is not a beneficial use site, and therefore not covered under the beneficial use general permit the city received in June. Ohio EPA began working with the city and informed the city that it must develop an expeditious plan to remove the material from the site.
The unilateral orders issued by the Director today puts Mount Vernon on a schedule to remove this material. By December 31, 2022, the city must remove at least 7,500 cubic yards of the lime material from the storage site. An additional 7,500 cubic yards are to be removed by March 31, 2023.
The city is also required to submit a compliance plan by April 30, 2023, to remove the remaining material by Dec. 15, 2023.
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.