(Plain Press, June 2014)An environmental cleanup of the William C. Reed Playfields, a 12-acre park at W. 15th and Denison, will begin in mid-June and plans call for the cleanup to be completed by August. The United States Environmental Protection Agency made a presentation on cleanup plans at a May 20th Community Meeting held at St. Barbara’s Church Hall at 1505 Denison. The park, on the north side of Denison, is located just behind the Horizon Science Academy’s Middle School and the Foster Pointe Apartments. Riverside Cemetery lies to the north of the park.
There are also some residential parcels adjacent to the park. The US EPA has thus far tested soil in the yards of thirty-five of those parcels and found PAH levels exceeded Ohio EPA residential standards at 23 of those parcels. An additional 36 residential parcels still need to be tested. The EPA will discuss cleanup with property owners.
W. C. Reed Park was closed in December of 2012 when City of Cleveland officials planning a park renovation tested the soil. Seventy percent of the soil samples from the park exceeded residential and industrial standards for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the soil. An informational bulletin handed out at the meeting by Ohio Department of Health says the “PAHs are released into the environment as the result of the incomplete burning of oil, tobacco, coal, wood, etc.” The same bulletin says some PAHs are possibly carcinogenic to humans.
EPA officials say their review of the site indicated that there was once a 60 foot deep ravine where the park is now located. They believe the ravine was filled in, possibly with industrial debris, in the early 1900s. Below ground samples taken by the US EPA show some kind of slag/cinder material.
Forty residents attending the May 20th meeting learned that the US EPA cleanup plan calls for removal of about two feet of soil. Once the soil is removed a semi porous fabric will be set down. Next about a foot and a half of clay soil will be put down, followed by six inches of topsoil. EPA officials said the soil excavation may be deeper in some areas to make sure city workers are not contaminated when they start a $350,000 planned renovation of the park putting in ball diamonds and other park and playground features following the environmental cleanup.
The plans presented by the US EPA call for the removal of most of the trees in the park. After the meeting, a number of residents expressed disappointment via Facebook concerning massive removal of trees proposed in the plan. At prior community meetings residents requested that more trees be saved.
EPA officials estimated that the cleanup of the park would cost $2.4 million. They estimate the residential cleanup will range from .8 to 1.5 million. The US EPA will cover the cost of the cleanup. They hope to finish testing the residential parcels in June and July of this year and begin cleanup of the residential properties in September once the park cleanup is finished. EPA officials expect he cleanup of the residential properties, replacement of soil, reseeding and landscaping to be completed by June of 2015. Officials said the residential cleanup would involve exterior yards only. There will be no reason for workers to be given access to anyone’s home.
EPA officials promised air monitoring of the site during the cleanup and said they would shut down the site if particulate matter exceeded allowable levels. The property will be graded and water flow will be controlled to limit areas of sitting water in the park.
Editor’s Note: Residents or stakeholders having questions about the park or residential cleanup can call Ginny Narsete, US EPA Community Involvement Coordinator at 312-886-4259, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.