December 19, 2002
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Residents updated on YSI ground water investigation

At the Source Water Protection Committee meeting Dec. 5, YSI Incorporated presented the preliminary results of soil and groundwater testing designed to determine the source and extent of contamination found on and around its Brannum Lane facility last year.

Lisa Abel, the company’s area wells project coordinator, also presented suspected source locations.

According to a map prepared by YSI, several areas around its campus, including the current and former shipping dock areas to the north and west of the Brannum East Building and the Old Brannum House area along Brannum Lane, were possible source areas. Located in these areas are the company’s septic system, storm water drains and waste storage shed, all highly suspected areas where chemicals could have collected, Abel said.

Preliminary soil analyses were not definitive enough to help the company determine how to clean up its property, Abel said.

YSI has already begun a second round of soil testing to further define the extent of contamination. The results of the second round of testing should be available by next March, Abel said.

A cleanup plan should be completed by May and ready for public comment. “I’d like to be in the cleanup phase by the middle of next year,” she said.

In May 2001 the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency began investigating groundwater contamination on and around YSI’s Brannum Lane property. A year later, YSI and the Ohio EPA entered into an Administrative Order requiring YSI to provide an alternate water source for affected neighbors and to define the pollution source and develop a remediation plan.

When YSI later revealed that a group of its employees for several years had dumped the chemical 1,1,1-trichloroethane on the ground on its facility, the state of Ohio charged YSI with violating state and federal environmental laws.

In August, three neighbors of YSI sued the company for contaminating their properties and violating the same laws.

The Source Water Protection Committee has hired Bennett & Williams, a hydrogeology and environmental consulting firm in Columbus, to review data and provide comments on YSI’s cleanup plans and testing results.

After reviewing YSI’s ongoing groundwater investigation, Linda Aller of Bennett & Williams during the meeting highlighted a health report prepared in August 2002 by the Ohio Department of Heath and signed by local, state and federal health departments. The report concurred with previous findings that three private wells exceeded the acceptable level for the volatile organic chemical 1,1-dichloroethene, a potential breakdown product of 1,1,1-trichloroethane.

However, the report says that the effects of 1,1-dichloroethene on humans is uncertain, and that the “level of VOC’s in private wells is not likely to lead to adverse health affects.”

The report recommends that residents should seek an alternate water source.

Earlier this fall, the Ohio EPA approved YSI’s plans to provide Village water to 18 of its effect neighbors and to delineate contaminant sources.

Those neighbors who agreed to receive Village water service have been receiving water as of Dec. 12, Abel said.

—Lauren Heaton