December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Moen seeks to redevelop Woodland Avenue property

ELYRIA – Moen Inc. is looking to have a 31-acre property on Woodland Avenue receive an urban setting designation that will free the company from a more stringent form of environmental clean-up as it looks to redevelop the property.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency considers the property at 377 Woodland Ave. to be a brownfield and must be cleaned up before a development plan can be completed.

In seeking the designation, Moen has entered into the Ohio EPA’s voluntary action program, which means Moen has taken it upon themselves to evaluate the property and do any necessary remediation without the Ohio EPA stepping in, Ohio EPA Spokesman Mike Settles said.

“Moen has been working with the Ohio EPA and has already removed a great deal of impacted soil that was the source of ground water contamination,” he said. “Moen has been conducting groundwater treatment activities in the city, striving to restore the groundwater to portable use – for drinking and bathing.”

Settles said for Moen to be granted the designation it will have to prove that no one within a half mile of the site will use groundwater for drinking and bathing.

“It is not likely Moen will be able to remove all of the contamination and because of its setting in a city and all of the surrounding area is connected to the city water supply, the USD will likely be granted,” he said.

Seeking the USD will remove the requirement of complete remediation from any kind of environmental action plan. Settles said several such designations have been granted for former commercial and industrial sites in other urban areas like Cleveland and Youngstown.

“It’s another means of getting the OK to look at the other problems on the property instead of spending an enormous amount of money to clean up groundwater no one will ever use,” he said.

Settles said he does not know what kind of contamination was found at the site or what future plans are for the property.

The USD application was submitted by Groundwater & Environmental Services Inc. on behalf of Moen.

Elyria Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said the city was contacted to provide information concerning the water supply to the property. All water received from the city comes from Lake Erie through the city’s water plant in Lorain, where it is extensively treated.

She likewise does not know what Moen may want to do with the property in the future. They have submitted no documentation to the city.

“It’s a Moen property. Whether it is specifically the Moen company, I can’t speak to that,” she said. “They don’t have to tell us why they are asking for the designation.”

The city does own a very small parcel on Lowell Street on the fringe of the Moen property, but it will not be affected. Siwierka said the city owns a former weigh station for trucks that hasn’t been used in decades.

Settles said the public is allowed to comment on Moen’s request.

Written comments may be mailed to Susan Netzly-Watkins, Ohio EPA Northeast District Office, 2110 East Aurora Road, Twinsburg, OH44087 or emailed to susan.netzly@epa.ohio.gov. Public comments received by Oct. 25 will be considered before the Ohio EPA director makes a final decision.

The USD application is available for review by first calling (330) 963-1200.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.