Owners of Girard industrial site to pay cleanup costs - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Owners of Girard industrial site to pay cleanup costs

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GIRARD, Ohio - The owners of a formerly contaminated industrial site along State Route 422 have agreed to pay the cleanup costs for what the Ohio Attorney General's office termed ultra hazardous activity.

A consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Youngstown has been signed by agents of two businesses, agreeing to pay $47,000 dollars for the EPA's supervision and cleanup of contaminants left by a scrap metal business on property at 1052 North State Street formerly known as the Leatherworks.

The agreement came after the Attorney General filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the property owners allowed contamination to be discharged into ground water for years.

The cost of the cleanup will be shared by Samuel Berkowitz of Hubbard, who operates Berk Realty of Niles, Richard Goodman of Liberty Township, as well as Gordon Schaaf and Ralph Carestia of Annapolis, MD., who transacted business at the site.

The defendants have also agreed to transfer ownership of the property to the city of Girard.

The former Ohio Leather Company began operations in 1902 at the Site and produced chrome-tanned upper shoe leather for approximately 70 years on the Site. The Ohio Leather Company used chemicals and acids in its operation and treated wastewater and disposed solid and hazardous wastes and hazardous substances on the Site.

Berk Realty owned the Site from 1974 for a period of about 20 years, during which time the site was used for their scrap metal recycling business. As part of recycling operations, solid and hazardous wastes and hazardous substances were disposed at the site.

Schaaf and Carestia acquired the Site property in 1994 using the name Leatherworks Partnership. In 2003, Defendants Schaaf and Carestia transferred title of the Site property to defendant Navy Friends.

Subsequent EPA inspections detected contamination at the site, including a 2005 sampling that found the presence of various metals, including chromium, lead, and zinc, and contaminated ground water below the site.

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