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Voluntary Action Program

The Voluntary Action Program (VAP) gives individuals a way to investigate possible environmental contamination, clean it up if necessary and receive a promise from the State of Ohio that no more cleanup is needed.

The VAP minimizes governmental red tape and maximizes resources and expertise in the private sector. If someone wants to clean up a piece of property, it may be done following specific standards developed by Ohio EPA.

When cleanup requirements are met, the director of Ohio EPA issues a covenant not to sue. This covenant protects the property owner or operator and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further investigation and cleanup. This protection applies only when the property is used and maintained in the same manner as when the covenant was issued.

What's New

Ohio EPA Celebrates 25 Years of Cleanups, Redevelopment of Old Industrial Properties around the State

A revitalization project in Cleveland's Flats East is among the most recent properties to be returned to productive use during the 25-year history of Ohio EPA's Voluntary Action Program. The innovative program has benefitted communities across the state economically and environmentally by encouraging property owners to voluntarily clean up their land for redevelopment.

Success Stories

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American Can Building Cincinnati, Ohio

The American Can Building is located at 4101 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, and encompases four lots totaling approximately five acres. The historical use of the property dates back to 1921, and primarily included manufacturing of can making machinery and parts until 1961. Subsequent uses of the property included mixed industrial and commerical use including machining and sheet metal operations. All industrial and commercial activity ceased in 2006, shortly after a local redevelopment company purchased the property and received Clean Ohio funding toward its remediation. On Feb. 14, 2012, Ohio EPA issued a Covenant Not to Sue for the property.

Contaminants of concern included VOCs, PAHs, TPHs, PCBs, and metals. Remediation activities included removal of PCB-impacted flooring, and asbestos-containing materials, and the sealing and capping of concrete flooring. An environmental covenant was put in place, prohibiting the use of ground water for potable purposes.

After years of vacancy, the historical building was renovated and reopend its doors in 2011. The building was converted into loft apartments and commercial space and boasts an urban living lifestyle including; green spaces, a café in the first floor of the building, and amenities in walking distance including restaurants, boutiques, drug stores and hardware stores. An additional 56-unit senior living facility was also contructed at the site and opened in 2017.

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Empire Steel New Boston, Ohio

The Empire Steel property was a steel mill and a slag plant for more than 100 years. The majority of the property was used by Empire-Detroit Steel Mill, and later Cyclops Corporation. The mill permanently shut down in 1980, but the underground coke oven gas transmission line was in operation until the Coke Plant shut down operation on April 2, 2002.

Between 1996 and 2013 approximately 116 acres, through 6 projects have been cleaned-up and received a covenant not to sue from the State of Ohio. The remediation consisted of excavation and removal of soil contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, metals and asbestos from the site for off-site disposal, as well as use restrictions limiting the property to commercial or industrial land use.

Currently a portion of the property is used as a steel distributor, while other portions of the property contain retail and dining establishments including a Walmart. 

The Flats East - BeforeThe Flats East - BeforeThe Flats East - BeforeThe Flats East - AfterThe Flats East - AfterThe Flats East - AfterThe Flats East - After

The Flats EAST Cleveland, Ohio

The Flats East Development area is of one of Cleveland's most significant mixed-use development projects. The Flats East Bank project is reviving this blighted area, once again reshaping the downtown Cleveland skyline and establishing a new trend in experience-driven mixed-use living. The Flats East Development property has received two Clean Ohio Revitalization grants, both for $3 million dollars. The property has received three Covenants Not to Sue from Ohio EPA. This project would not have been possible without multiple public-private partnerships.

The East Bank of the Flats is one of Cleveland's oldest developed areas and has been the location of heavy industrial development for over 100 years. Historical operations on the property include elevator warehousing, fish net storage, boat building and storage, fish packing and warehousing, steel storage, grinding, painting, glazing, shot peening, printing, welding, machining, scrap iron storage, oil and chemical storage, coke handling, metal working, and manufactured gas generation. As the needs of Cleveland changed in the early 1980s, many portions of the property were used as parking lots by various nightclubs and restaurants. The bars and clubs slowly degenerated and after several drownings and shootings, the Flats earned a poor safety reputation and establishments began closing. The area was almost completely abandoned and buildings vacant when Flats East Development began purchasing properties and razing abandoned structures in the early 2000s.

The remediation at the site was driven largely by petroleum hydrocarbons, notably poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, and chlorinated solvents stemming from historical operations. The final development plans required maintenance of a minimum two-foot cap of clean soil and the use of engineering controls, including buildings, pavement, and vapor barriers, in order for the site to meet standards. Brownfield cleanup activities included excavation of soil exceeding standards, placement of clean soil covers, installation of vapor barriers with passive vent piping beneath proposed buildings, and offsite disposal of materials. Remedial activities assisted in the construction of seven additional buildings across the property, along with the installation of additional storm, sanitary, water, and electric lines beneath the new alignments for Front Street and Old River Road. Infrastructure improvements also include the installation of new combined sewer overflow (CSO) piping beneath the alignment of the proposed Front Street development. Vapor barriers and passive vent removal piping were installed beneath many of the building structures. In total, 37 acres has been revitalized into a vibrant and tourist friendly destination.

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Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant Toledo, Ohio

On May 9, 2016, the Ohio EPA Voluntary Action Program issued a Covenant Not to Sue (CNS) to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority (Port) for an approximately 80.9-acre portion of the Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant property (property). On November 21, 2017, a second CNS was issued to the Port for an additional 29.5-acre portion of the property.

From 1888 to 2006, the property was home to Toledo's century-old automobile manufacturing hub, Toledo Jeep. With the remediation phase completed, property development is underway, and construction has begun. 

The Toledo Lucas County Port Authority bought the 111-acre site from Chrysler in 2010 and is overseeing construction, including foundation removal and grading, installation of utilities, and roadway construction with the sole purpose of returning the valuable asset to the stream of commerce in the form of an innovative business park that will be an example of sustainable industrial redevelopment. Since acquiring the former Jeep property in 2010, the Port Authority has invested approximately $14 million to redevelop the site, making it attractive to many potential end users. 

The Port Authority and NAI Harmon Group began construction on a 100,000 square foot class A pre-cast, concrete industrial building in June 2014 and held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the facility in October 2014, totaling nearly $10 million in construction costs. Following construction, Dana Holding Corporation opened a new high-tech axle manufacturing facility at Overland Industrial Park, making Dana the first tenant on the redeveloped site. Dana leased the existing 100,000 square foot facility on the property, and the Port Authority and NAI Harmon Group worked to expand the building to nearly 300,000 square feet. The addition of this new facility to Toledo has the potential to employ over 300 people by 2020.

In 2017, a second approximately 130,000 square foot building was constructed and is currently undergoing an additional expansion. This building is now occupied by Detroit Mechanical Systems (DMS). DMS manufactures automotive parts for the Jeep Wrangler and has the potential to employ 140 people. 

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Whittier Peninsula Columbus, Ohio

Columbuss Whittier Peninsula project property consists of approximately 137 acres that was historically used since the 1870s for industrial purposes. These activities included sand and gravel mining, the manufacturing of concrete products by the former Universal Concrete Company, unlicensed landfill activity, storage of cars and other vehicles on the City of Columbus Impound Lots, manufacturing at the former Lazarus Warehouse, electroplating, a coal yard, an asphalt plant, a steel fountry, and a railroad yard. The voluntary cleanup of the Whittier Peninsula was conducted by the City of Columbus and the Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District. The peninsula was sectioned off and cleaned up in stages, with completion dates ranging from 2008-2015. Funding assistance for the project was provided by the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, the U.S. EPA Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund, and other funding sourced from the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Urban Development.

The restoration of the peninsula was a multi-year effort, now known as the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. The park boasts restored wetlands and grasslands, as well as riverside access for recreational purposes. The Grange-Audubon Insurance Nature Center is located on site, as the property is located in a popular migratory path for many bird species. Bicycle and walking trails lace the property, connecting it to surrounding areas. Many other recreational facilities are available as well, noteably the very popular outdoor climbing wall. 

Contaminants of concern included volatile organic compounds (VOC), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), arsenic, and metals. Remediation activities included soil removal, implementation of soil barriers (pavement, landscaping, floor slabs) to prevent direct contact to soil, and land use and ground water use prohibitions. An environmental covenant limits the property to recreational, commercial, or industrial land use.


April 2022

April 2022

ORC Section 3746.17(B) requires Ohio EPA to conduct audits of at least 25 percent of the NFA letters issued during the calendar year previous to the year in which the audits are conducted. VAP properties audited may be selected from either the "random audit pool" or the "discretionary audit pool", as defined in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Rule 3745-300-14. Listed below are the properties that NFAs were issued in 2020 that DERR-VAP has selected to audit. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Lisa Shook at 614-644-2295 or lisa.shook@epa.ohio.gov.

NFA # Project Name CP District Audit Pool
21NFA781 MTD Manufacturing Facility, Parma Volpi, R NEDO Discretionary
21NFA792 Heidtman Steel Products, former, Cleveland Fay, D NEDO Random
21NFA793 ICP Adhesives & Sealants, Inc, Norton Pradhan, M NEDO Discretionary
21NFA797 Calgon Carbon Corp, Columbus Gross, S CDO Random
21NFA800 Battery Park North, Cleveland Bowyer, P NEDO Random
21NFA802 BP Plant 69461, Clarington McKim, M SEDO Random
21NFA803 Collinwood Properties Cleveland E 152nd St Mignery, T NEDO Random

Program Info/Services


Financial Assistance/Incentives

  • Grant-Funded Technical Assistance (TA) 
  • Tax Abatement - upon issuance of a covenant not to sue from the Director of the Ohio EPA for a remedy under the Voluntary Action Program, the Department of Taxation will grant a tax exemption to the property (ORC 5709.87). The exemption, which is issued as an order by the tax commissioner, only covers the increase in the assessed value of land and the increase in the assessed value of improvements, buildings, fixtures and structures that exist at the time the tax abatement order is granted. The Department of Taxation will send copies of the exemption order to the owner of the property and the County Auditors Office. The County Auditors Office maintains the list of properties in the county that are subject to taxes and exemptions. The abatement lasts for 10 years.

Technical Assistance (TA)

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) Track

U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA have entered into a Superfund and RCRA Memorandum of Agreement for the Voluntary Action Program, called the MOA Track. The MOA Track requires volunteers to follow the existing procedures for VAP sites and conduct additional steps. The MOA Track includes more agency involvement, such as notice of entry into the program, approval of certain documents and works plans, and greater public involvement. Participants who conduct these additional steps have the added comfort of knowing that the cleanup is being conducted under a program that the U.S. EPA has reviewed and determined to be adequate.

Memorandum of Agreement for the VAP

MOA Track Information

MOA Track Documents

Cover Letter

Notice of Entry Documents

Initial Investigation Documents

Risk Assessment & Remedial Action Work Plan Documents

Note: Grant technical assistance may be available to public entities.(Example Grant Technical Assistance Request Letter)

USDs and Other Director Approvals Prior to Issuance of NFA Letter

Urban Setting Designation

Variance or Case-by-Case Determination

Off-Property Pathway Omission

NFA Information, Process & Procedures

Environmental Covenants/Use Restrictions:

Operations & Maintenance - Risk Mitigation Plan:

Post-CNS Compliance and Remedy Revision

VAP Fees

Voluntary Action Program Fee Schedule
effective August 1, 2014
Fee as of August 1, 2014
No Further Action Letters submitted for a covenant not to sue - no environmental covenant $15,700.00
No Further Action Letters submitted for a covenant not to sue - includes an environmental covenant $18,200.00
No Further Action letters submitted for a covenant not to sue - memorandum of agreement track - no environmental covenant $10,000.00
No Further Action letters submitted for a covenant not to sue - memorandum of agreement track - includes an environmental covenant $12,500.00
Pre and post No Further Action Letter technical assistance requests. For example: variances, case-by-case determinations, urban settings designation requests, deligent effort requests, operation and maintenance reviews, risk management plan reviews, remedy change notice reviews and other activities listed in OAC 3745-300-03(E) Charged through technical assistance account

How Do I?

How do I take a site through the Voluntary Action Program?

Download the VAP fact sheet [.PDF]

Benefits of the VAP

Ohio recognized the need to remove the environmental and legal barriers that stalled redevelopment and reuse of contaminated properties. Now anyone can undertake a cleanup project and be assured it meets environmental standards without direct oversight from Ohio EPA. The VAP minimizes governmental red tape and maximizes resources and expertise in the private sector. If someone wants to clean up a piece of property, it may be done following specific standards developed by Ohio EPA.

Certified Professionals and Laboratories

The VAP maximizes resources and expertise in the private sector by utilizing qualified, experienced professionals such as engineers and scientists who are certified by Ohio EPA. These certified professionals (CPs) are responsible for verifying properties are cleaned up to the levels required by the program rules. The detailed program rules allow these qualified professionals and the volunteer that he or she represents to do the work without ongoing Agency involvement.

Ohio EPA operates a certification program to ensure that only environmental professionals with the appropriate qualifications and experience are licensed as CPs. In addition, to help ensure high-quality work, CPs must meet annual continuing education requirements and be recertified by Ohio EPA each year. Information about CPs can be found here: https://epa.ohio.gov/static/Portals/30/vap/docs/CP/CP Renewal Application.docx

To ensure high-quality laboratory data, Ohio EPA also certifies laboratories that test environmental samples that support voluntary cleanups. Before any certification is issued, Ohio EPA conducts an evaluation of the laboratory's documents and staff in order to determine its qualifications for certification. This evaluation includes a detailed technical review of all laboratory documents associated with an application and an on-site inspection to assess analysts' skills and knowledge in conducting the analyses. Information about certified laboratories can be found here: https://epa.ohio.gov/divisions-and-offices/environmental-response-revitalization/cleanup-and-investigation/laboratory-certification-information-faq

No Further Action Letter

When a CP determines after site investigation and any necessary cleanup that the property meets the standards contained in the program rules (OAC Chapter 3745-300), he or she can prepare a No Further Action (NFA) letter. This document describes the environmental problems found at the site, how those environmental problems were investigated and how the site was cleaned up.

The NFA letter includes a Phase I property assessment report that contains information concerning the CP's investigation of the historical and current uses of the property. This information allows the CP to determine whether or not there is a reason to believe that a release of hazardous substances or petroleum has or may have occurred at the property.

If there is reason to believe a release has occurred and the site may be contaminated, a Phase II property assessment is then conducted. The Phase II assessment includes collecting soil, ground water, surface water and sediment samples from the site as necessary. The Phase II assessment ensures that all potential contaminants identified in the Phase I assessment are adequately evaluated and compared to the appropriate VAP cleanup standards. If the Phase II assessment indicates that cleanup standards are met and the site is protective of human health and the environment, the CP will determine that the voluntary cleanup is completed and prepare the NFA letter.

If the Phase II assessment indicates that more action is needed to meet the standards, additional remedial activities will occur to make the site protective of human health and the environment. Remedial activities may include things such as soil removal, ground water treatment, barriers to the contamination such as a clay or asphalt cap, or placing limitations on future use of the property.

If volunteers want assurance that U.S. EPA will also not ask for additional cleanup, they need to implement the additional steps outlined in the agreement negotiated by Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA. These additional steps include direct oversight of investigation and cleanup activities by Ohio EPA and opportunities for public review of site documents as they are produced by the volunteer. For details regarding the memorandum of agreement track, see: https://epa.ohio.gov/static/Portals/30/vap/docs/MOA%20Track.pdf

Through technical assistance, Ohio EPA can assist volunteers with any questions they have regarding their participation in the VAP. Since the VAP relies on user fees to help support the program, volunteers must pay for the Agency's assistance. Although some volunteers receiving technical assistance submit NFA letters, many volunteers conduct work in accordance with Ohio EPA's advice but do not submit an NFA letter. Even if a volunteer does not submit an NFA letter, VAP rules and technical assistance can be used for cleanup and redevelopment of those properties.

Covenant Not to Sue

If the volunteer wants a legal release from Ohio, the certified professional submits the NFA letter to Ohio EPA for review. VAP technical staff reviews NFA letters submitted to the Agency to determine if program standards are met and that the site is protective of public health, safety and the environment. When cleanup requirements are met, the director of Ohio EPA issues a covenant not to sue. This covenant protects the property owner or operator and future owners from being legally responsible to the State of Ohio for further investigation and cleanup. This protection applies only when the property is used and maintained in the same manner as when the covenant was issued. A list of all the NFA letters received by the Agency and their status can be found here: https://epa.ohio.gov/portals/30/vap/docs/Complete NFA Summary with Current Status.xlsx

A covenant is recorded in the county recorder's office and transfers with the title of the property to a new owner. Restrictions on how a property may be used are filed along with the property's deed in the county recorder's office before a covenant is issued by Ohio EPA. When a covenant is issued or denied by the director, a notice is published in the local newspaper to inform nearby residents and other interested parties. Covenant issuances and denials can be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission.

Ohio EPA audits at least 25 percent of the properties taken through the VAP annually to ensure that sites have been properly addressed and that CPs and laboratories performed work properly. All documents related to the voluntary action may be examined by Ohio EPA during an audit. During the audit, Ohio EPA may also conduct on-site sampling to verify compliance with cleanup standards. Volunteers may lose their covenants if problems identified in an audit are not corrected. CPs and laboratories who have conducted work under the VAP may be civilly or criminally penalized for violating agreements and falsifying or withholding information.

Public Participation

All information provided to Ohio EPA about sites in the VAP is available to the public. This includes all the information provided by companies asking for technical assistance before submitting an NFA letter, and all the documentation included in an NFA letter, as well as all Agency comments. At any time during the NFA letter review process, the public can request and receive any cleanup document from Ohio EPA. In addition, each NFA letter must include a list of all the data, information and documentation relied on to conduct the voluntary action, even if the data is not included as part of the NFA letter submittal. This information is also available to the public upon request.

Though the law protects the volunteer from having any of this documentation used in any civil or administrative proceeding, it does not allow the volunteer to claim any of the information produced in connection with a voluntary action to be confidential or to alter any of the public's rights to receive access to these documents.


For more information about the program, visit the VAP web page or contact Kelly Kaletsky or call (614) 644-2304.

How do I become a VAP certified professional?

Download the fact sheet [.PDF]


Ohio's Voluntary Action Program (VAP) was created to give businesses and property owners a way to investigate possible environmental contamination due to hazardous substances or petroleum releases, clean up the property if necessary and receive a covenant not to sue (CNS); that is, a release from the State of Ohio that no more cleanup is needed.

The VAP maximizes resources and expertise in the private sector by using qualified, experienced professionals such as engineers and scientists certified by Ohio EPA as certified professionals (CP). To ensure high quality laboratory data, Ohio EPA also designates qualified laboratories as certified laboratories (CL) to test environmental samples which generate data used to support environmental cleanups.

The objectives of this fact sheet are to describe who may qualify as a CP and to explain what documentation must be submitted by a professional seeking to participate in the VAP.

Who Qualifies?

A person must meet the following criteria to be eligible to become a CP. The individual must:

  • hold a bachelor's degree from a recognized school in biology, chemistry, an appropriate area of engineering, geology, hydrogeology, toxicology, environmental sciences, the scientific sub-disciplines of public health, hazardous waste management or other equivalent curriculum acceptable to Ohio EPA;

  • have eight years of professional experience related to cleanup work. Of the eight years, three years must have been spent as a supervisor or project manager. A relevant master's degree can substitute for up to one year of experience, and a doctorate can substitute for up to two years;

  • possess good moral character, as testified to by references under affidavit;

  • possess the professional competence and knowledge to perform the tasks required of a certified professional; and

  • take the initial training offered by Ohio EPA within one year prior to submitting a certification application.


Application Requirements

A person wishing to be considered for participation in the VAP must submit the following information and documentation by affidavit:

  • completed application with signed affidavit;

  • original transcripts of degree from a recognized educational institution;

  • six completed reference forms;

  • documentation of attendance at the initial training; and

  • record of payment of the initial professional certification fee, as established in OAC 3745-300-03.


The application and documentation must be mailed to:

Voluntary Action Program
50 West Town Street, Suite 700
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049


Payment Required

In addition to the application requirements, a person wishing to participate in the VAP as a CP must submit a payment of $2,500 payable to:

Treasurer, State of Ohio


The payment should be sent to:

Office of Fiscal Administration
Ohio EPA
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, OH 43216-1049


Location of Application/ Rules

Visit the VAP Certified Professional webpage to view or download the application package:

The rules are available here:

The VAP program technical guidance compendium can be found here:


For more information, contact:

How do I become a VAP certified laboratory?

For information on how to become a VAP certified laboratory, visit DERR's Laboratory Certification Information & FAQ web page, or search through the Laboratory Certification Frequently Asked Questions.

I think there is a contaminated property in my neighborhood. What can I do about it?

First, find out within which Ohio EPA District Office the property youre concerned about is located (see district map). Once you have determined the district, you should contact the Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization for that district. DERR will be able to let you know whether or not the property is under investigation by Ohio EPA or, if not, can address your concerns about the property.

  • Central Office
    Lazarus Government Center
    50 W. Town St., Suite 700
    P.O. Box 1049
    Columbus, OH 43215
    (614) 644-3020

  • Central District Office
    Lazarus Government Center
    50 W. Town St., Suite 700
    Columbus, OH 43215
    (614) 728-3778
    (800) 686-2330

  • Northeast District Office
    2110 E. Aurora Rd.
    Twinsburg, OH 44087
    (330) 963-1200
    (800) 686-6330

  • Northwest District Office
    347 N. Dunbridge Rd.
    Bowling Green, OH 43402
    (419) 352-8461
    (800) 686-6930

  • Southeast District Office
    2195 Front Street
    Logan, OH 43138
    (740) 385-8501
    (800) 686-7330

  • Southwest District Office
    401 E. Fifth St.
    Dayton, OH 45402
    (937) 285-6357
    (800) 686-8930

Toll-free numbers are for citizens with questions or concerns about environmental issues. The regulated community should use the business line for routine business. Spills and emergencies should be reported to (800) 282-9378.

I want to purchase a property that may be contaminated. How do I find out what problems I might encounter?

If you are looking to purchase a property that may be contaminated, you will want to have an environmental site assessment(s) performed by an experienced environmental consultant. Environmental site assessments are typically conducted in phases, and are used to determine whether a site is contaminated or not. A Phase I environmental assessment is a review of all the records and knowledge associated with the propertys historical record to see if there is the potential for the presence of contamination. If the Phase I indicates there is a potential for contamination, then the assessment of the site proceeds to the next phase. A Phase II involves sampling of the site and will help determine: the extent of contamination; the types and probable sources of contamination the level of risk to humans and the environment associated with the contamination and whether the contamination needs to be cleaned up.

Performing these phased environmental site assessments will give you information to help you determine what kind of additional costs you will incur before you finalize the property purchase. In the case of a property that is contaminated, you want to find out how much it is likely to cost to clean it up before you buy it. An environmental site assessment that meets the requirements of the All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) rules (for more information on AAI, visit U.S. EPA's Brownfields website); can limit your liability under the federal Superfund law. In addition, an environmental site assessment conducted in accordance with Ohio EPAs Voluntary Action Program (VAP) rules can be used as part of a no further action letter (NFA) when requesting a covenant not to sue (CNS) from the state. A VAP CNS, issued by Ohio EPA after a property completes a VAP cleanup, releases the owner (and anyone else with an interest in the property) from any future requirements to conduct additional investigation and cleanup on the property. For more information about the VAP, visit the Voluntary Action Program web page.

Links and Resources



Public Notices (Archived from 2015)

Archived VAP Annual Reports

Other Related Sites


Shook, Lisa VAP Manager (614) 644-2295
Kaletsky, Kelly VAP Supervisor (614) 644-2304
Lamoreaux, Chelsea Environmental Specialist 2 (614) 644-2285
Staschiak, Sam Environmental Specialist 2 (614) 728-1749