The Krejci dump was a privately owned dump occupying 47 acres (19 ha) on several sites along Hines Hill Road near Boston Heights, Summit County, Ohio. After the area was converted into part of the then-Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park), the National Park Service discovered that the property, part of one of the most-heavily used parks in the country, was also one of the most contaminated sites in the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Region V. The dump subsequently became a Superfund cleanup site.
The Krejci family (pronounced Cretch-ee) owned a parcel exceeding 234 acres (95 ha) and opened a junkyard for burning trash and dumping scrap metal in 1940. At some point, the dump began accepting industrial and municipal waste, much of it toxic. This activity continued until 1980, when it closed, but the salvage business operated until 1985. The property was bisected by the 1972 construction of Interstate 271, which left 42 acres (17 ha) on the north side, and 192 acres (78 ha) on the south side.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area was created in 1974, and the National Park Service acquired the Krejci property in 1985, thinking they had an old junkyard. The Krejcis vacated the property, and the following year, a person collecting bottles on the site became ill. Park rangers would complain of headaches, rashes, and odors. The National Park Service requested a thorough analysis of the site's contents from the Environmental Protection Agency. It was closed to the public in 1986 after a host of extremely toxic chemicals were found at 14 separate locations on 19 acres (7.7 ha) north of I-271 and 28 acres (11 ha) south.
Upon investigation and testing of the site between 1986 and 1987, many toxic substances were found at the site, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), arsenic, dioxin, heavy metals, and other carcinogens. Thousands of leaking drums were found on the property. These drums contained waste from industrial processes, including paint, ink, herbicides, pesticides, solvents, and industrial sludge.
Ford Motor Co, General Motors, Federal Metal Co, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M), Chrysler, Kewanee Industries (a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation USA), and Waste Management of Ohio were found to be potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in contributing and transporting toxic waste to the Krejci dump. The PRPs had manufacturing facilities in the general vicinity of the Krejci site; Waste Management of Ohio, who had acquired all of the smaller, local refuse hauling companies, had been held ultimately responsible for transporting the wastes. All of these companies were sued in 1997 by the US government through CERCLA (Superfund) to recoup the cost of the cleanup, and all of PRPs agreed to settle out of court with the exception of 3M, who went to trial and lost.
The cost of the entire project to the US government is $50 million. However, money recovered through the CERCLA lawsuits resulted in a $21 million judgement against the PRPs. The cleanup project, at a cost of $29 million, was paid for by Ford Motor Co. with help from General Motors. The lawsuits, combined with Ford and GM covering the cost of the cleanup accounted for the entire cost of the project. In 2001 a National Park Service attorney said that the cleanup was the most expensive in the National Parks system.
Cleanup of the site consisted of removal of the drums themselves, along with the rest of the dump's non-hazardous contents. At one point in the cleanup thousands of multicolored flags covered the former dump's property, identifying different types and levels of hazards. Since soil had been contaminated by chemicals leaking from drums, dirt had to be removed from depths ranging from 12 inches (30 cm) to 25 feet (7.6 m). In the first 12 months of cleanup alone 108,000 cubic feet (3,100 m3) of contaminated soil had been trucked out of the site. Most of the non-hazardous soil went to two licensed landfills in Ohio, and the contaminated soil went to a licensed facility outside of Detroit, MI. By August 2012, 371,000 short tons (337,000 t) of contaminated material had been removed from the site.
According to the NPS, the Krejci dump site should be in the final stages of revegetation in the spring of 2012. Most of the 47-acre (19 ha) site has been graded and wild grasses are already repopulating the previously contaminated, barren soil. Only the most heavily contaminated area (just west of the I-271 overpass) is unfinished, but the entire project is scheduled to be finished in 2012. The ultimate goal of the NPS is to have the site appear as it originally would have, with native plants and wetlands covering the area.
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- Photos of Krejci Dump, then and now
- Krejci Dump Fact Sheet, National Park Service, 2005 Fhuds
- Boston Heights Dump Site Still Contaminated
- 3M To Pay For Printing Waste Cleanup
- Generators Pay For Cleanup
- Summit County Toxic-Waste Dump In Park Needs More Cleanup Work
- CERCLA (Superfund) website
- Krejci Dump Site Cleanup and Restoration (National Park Service, 2012)