EAST LIVERPOOL - Storage tanks will be removed from the former Sterling China property in Wellsville as part of continuing efforts to clean up the site so it can be used by the village fire department.
Larry Drane of the environmental consulting firm of Tetra Tech NUS updated the Columbiana County Port Authority at its Monday meeting on efforts to get Sterling China and three other industrial sites cleaned up so they can be reused.
The port authority received a $200,000 grant two years ago from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether these industrial sites are contaminated with petroleum products. Besides Sterling China, the other sites assessed for petroleum contamination were the old Riverview Greenhouse property in East Liverpool, the closed Exxon gas station in East Palestine and a former junk yard outside Columbiana.
The preliminary contamination assessment of those properties cost about $40,000, with the next phase being is a more detailed assessment and the installation of groundwater monitoring wells to determine the extent of the contamination, and the port authority has chosen to start with the six-acre site where Sterling China once stood.
There are two large underground storage tanks on the Sterling China property, and although none of this grant money can be used to directly remove storage tanks, Drane said the grant regulations have a loophole that allows them to get at the possibly contaminated soil beneath the tanks, which is what they plan to do.
The cost will be $90,000, which will likely leave them with insufficient remaining funds to do further work at the other three sites. Drane said they could use the money to serve as matching funds to qualify for additional grant money.
Although the intent of the program is to make commercial property suitable for further redevelopment, Port Authority CEO Tracy Drake said they opted to help the Wellsville Fire Department, which plans to use the Sterling China property for training. He said that does not prevent the property from being redeveloped in the future.
"If we can help remediate a brownfield and put this property back into use, that's the right thing to do," he said.
The port authority has already done this with the former National Refractories property outside Columbiana. A grant was obtained in the mid 2000s to clean up the site, enabling a company to expand into the property and create 80 jobs, and they are attempting to do likewise with the former Summitville Tiles plant in Summitville.