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OEPA seeks comments on groundwater at fairgrounds

ZANESVILLE - The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is considering two applications by Cooper U.S. Inc. asking for permission to conduct groundwater cleanup operations at its former Pershing Road location.

A public hearing to hear concerns from residents and officials about the potential impact on Chap's Run will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Monday at the John McIntire Library.

Houston, Texas-based Cooper intends to build a pump system on the site at 1510 Pershing Road to treat contaminated groundwater in two wells, and the water would then be discharged into Chap's Run and then to the Muskingum River.

The groundwater contains volatile chemicals which would be treated using an air stripper.

The discharge could result in a change to the water quality, but under EPA regulations cannot violate requirements which protect the health and safety of the environment.

The pending applications cover the installation of the pump system as well as the discharge from it.

Comments will be accepted during the hearing or can be submitted in writing to the Ohio EPA's Division of Surface Water through Friday.

Cooper Industries operated a Power Systems facility at the site until the building was razed and the property deeded to the Muskingum County Agricultural Society in July 1994.

The area has been used for parking at the Muskingum County Fairgrounds since that time, although the ag society was not permitted to build any permanent structures on the property due to the underground contamination.


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Bill Agin, vice president of the fair board, said fair officials have been working with Cooper and EPA officials to address the problem.

"We were told that this would take care of it," Agin said. "They will be building it (the pump station), treating the water and then releasing that water out."

The pumps for the old wells, which are approximately 90 feet and 63 feet below ground, were pulled out years ago, Agin said, and the wells were plugged to avoid seepage into the surrounding properties.

Two wells near the northeast corner of the property were found to contain various volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), like paints and solvents, as early as 1983, according to a site cleanup order issued by the Ohio EPA in Nov. 1998.



Well sampling was also conducted in the spring and fall of 1992, after city officials reported to the EPA that the city had been requested to accept the wastewater from the property into its storm sewer system. Cooper hired an environmental services firm from Marietta to do more sampling in 1993, documents show.

The site previously was home to Line Material Inc. and McGraw Electric from 1939 to 1957 and McGraw-Edison from 1957 to 1985, when McGraw-Edison became a part of Cooper. One of the main products produced there was electric transformers for commercial and residential use.


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