Health

Cuyahoga Valley National Park wraps up Krejci Dump clean-up, restoration

BOSTON HEIGHTS, Ohio – The National Park Service announced Tuesday it has completed the cleanup, restoration and revegetation of a former toxic waste dump in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Krejci Dump on West Hines Hill Road was a municipal and industrial dump and salvage yard. The park service bought the site in 1985 and soon found contamination across 47 acres that posed a threat to human health and the environment.

Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., which dumped waste at the site in the 1950s and ’60s, agreed in federal court to pay for a $50 million cleanup that was largely completed in 2014 and recently finished entirely.

“In a multi-year cleanup process, NPS worked in close coordination with Ford Motor Company, the lead corporation involved in the cleanup, to recontour and revegetate the site with native grasses and wildflowers, reestablish natural wetlands and restore important wildlife habitat,” the National Park Service said in a news release.

The park service has issued a certificate of completion to Ford stating that all requirements and performance standards for cleaning up and restoring the site have been achieved. The former dump is now open to park visitors for the first time since it was closed to the public in 1986.

The site was a dump and salvage yard ran by the Krejci family from the 1940s to 1980s and received solid and hazardous waste from nearby cities, towns and companies, according to CVNP. Waste included paints, solvents, pesticides and industrial sludge – materials that contained cancer-causing chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, benzene and heavy metals including arsenic and lead.

Dumps were largely unregulated at the time, and toxic substances were buried in unlined pits and could seep into the environment.

CVNP acquired the property in 1985 under the impression that it was a salvage yard, and soon realized the extent of the pollution. The park service partnered with the state and federal environmental protection agencies and found the level of contamination qualified the site for a cleanup under the so-called “Superfund” program administered by the U.S. EPA.

Lisa Petit, acting superintendent of CVNP, said the Krejci Dump was “one of the most toxic Superfund sites in the national park system,” but now it is safe for the public to enjoy.

“The completion of the remediation and restoration work necessary to eliminate public health risks and the impairment of park resources marks a great achievement for Cuyahoga Valley National Park and everyone who has been involved in this long process,” Petit said.

For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/removing-toxins-at-krejci-dump.htm.

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