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News Releases from Region 5


Ottawa Lead Contamination Cleanup To Begin

Release Date: 09/29/2010
Contact Information: Jayna Legg, 312-353-0562,

No. 10-OPA116

CHICAGO (Sept. 29, 2010) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 this month will begin cleanup of three lead-contaminated properties in the village of Ottawa, Ohio. Excavation will begin Oct. 4. Lead-contaminated soil will be removed and replaced with clean fill. Work should take about four weeks.

Based on sampling and recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health, three properties have been identified as having elevated levels of lead contamination requiring short-term action: a property on East Second Street along the Blanchard River and two other tracts located along Tawa Run – one on Defiance Avenue and the other on Blanchard Street.
Sampling done by EPA and Ohio EPA identified other properties with high lead levels; however, because of the depth of the contamination, those properties are not considered “time-critical” for removal. Ohio EPA’s investigation revealed that waste material containing lead may have come from the former GTE plant (also known as Sylvania and Philips) that once operated in Ottawa. The company disposed of rejected television tubes in and around Ottawa beginning in the 1940s through the 1990s.

Elevated lead levels in the environment may trigger lead poisoning. Pregnant women and young children are most at risk. High blood-lead levels in children or unborn babies can result in learning and behavior problems. Children may be exposed by playing on bare dirt spots and swallowing contaminated soil. People of any age may breathe lead-tainted dust.

Ohio EPA requested EPA’s assistance in 2008 to assess the residential property where the complaint originated. The cleanup falls under EPA’s Superfund removal program, which handles short-term investigations and cleanups where pollutants could potentially affect people’s health if not contained or removed in a timely manner.