Port Authority lands state grant for environmental study

LISBON – The Columbiana County Port Authority has officially been awarded a state grant for an environmental study officials hope will result in the expansion of an existing East Liverpool business.

The Ohio Controlling Board this week agreed to provide the port authority with a $183,000 grant to fund a study to determine if any contamination exists on the North Star Coal property. The port authority applied for the grant earlier this year.

Located along the Ohio River in downtown East Liverpool, the North Star property is adjacent to Seaforth Mineral & Ore, a mineral distribution company with a terminal. North Star is affiliated with another riverfront company, the Parsons Coal Co.

Brothers Jim and Gary McClurg, who own Seaforth, purchased Parsons last year and reconstituted the company as the Parsons Terminal Co. As part of the deal, the McClurgs opted to lease the affiliated North Star property rather than purchase it at this time because of possible industrial contamination concerns at the 120-year-old site.

The money acquired by the port authority will be used to determine if contamination exists and what it would costs to clean up the site so it could be redeveloped. The port authority would then seek additional state funding to address the contamination problem, if the McClurgs choose to proceed.

The testing to be done consists of soil sampling and shallow and deep groundwater monitoring.

The money is available through the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund, a program created specifically to fund environmental assessment studies of former industrial sites to determine if they can be redeveloped.