BOSTON TWP.: Four bare-bones wetlands have been sculpted in the field off Hines Hill Road. Logs and potholes dominate their landscape. Wetland plants will be planted in the spring.
Two trees, one small and one large, were added to the man-made wetlands. The bigger tree, up to 40 feet in length, was blown partially over by the high winds associated with Hurricane Sandy. It looks like a modern sculpture rising alone above the very flat, straw-covered field that was planted with seeds of tallgrass prairie grasses and shrubs.
Three wet meadows have been planted at the rear of the field in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to collect overflow water before it passes into ravines draining into the Cuyahoga Valley.
Welcome to what was once the Krejci Dump, a former toxic- waste site in northern Summit County.
The 28 acres on the east side of Interstate 271 in Boston Township have been regraded and planted. That restoration is largely complete except for the plugs of wetland plantings.
The final reclamation of the 19 acres on the west side of the highway in Northfield Center Township will take another four weeks. The work, halted for the winter, will be completed in the spring.
Michigan-based EQ Industrial Services Inc. is managing the work to regrade and seed the site for the Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. Years ago, the automakers used the dump for wastes from their operations in Northeast Ohio.
The work has been supervised by the National Park Service and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, park biologist Chris Davis said.
“It looks good, and it has progressed well,” Davis said of the latest work on the Krejci Dump site in a recent interview.
Others involved in the grading and seeding include Hiram-based Ohio Prairie Nursery, the Davey Resource Group in Kent, Radick Landscaping in Bainbridge Township and Cleveland-based JMD Co.
The team worked “very carefully” to assure that all seeds from 73 species that were planted at the site came from plants that historically would have been found on the property, said Bob Kehres of Ohio Prairie Nursery.
The park service announced in September that all of the contaminated soil on the site was finally removed after years of work and at a cost of about $60 million.
About 371,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris — enough to cover a football field to a depth of nearly 173 feet — were removed from two tracts that cover 47 acres off Hines Hill Road in Boston and Northfield Center townships.
What was to have been the final cleanup began in 2005 and was completed in 2007. More contamination was found, however, and another 130,000 tons of contaminated soils were removed beginning in 2009.
The Krejci site was named for the family that owned and operated it as a junkyard and dump from 1940 to 1980. It took in solvents, paint waste, industrial sludge, pesticides and herbicides.
The park service took control of the site in 1985. About 5,000 leaking barrels were uncovered in 1986.
Contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins-furans, benzene, arsenic, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals were found.
The initial Krejci cleanup by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took place in 1987 to remove the barrels. The park service assumed control of the cleanup in 1988.
The federal government spent $30 million on the initial Krejci surface cleanup. Ford and General Motors, which used the Krejci site in the 1950s and 1960s, paid that bill.
The government later reached a $21 million settlement with six other companies, all of which had dumped there: 3M, Chrysler, Waste Management, Kewanee Industries Inc., Chevron USA Inc. and Federal Metals.
Officials have said there is no evidence the contamination has polluted streams or moved off the site, which has been identified as the first toxic- waste dump in the national park system.
The park service will monitor the wetlands and the site for up to five years, Davis said, and Ford will be liable for corrections if any problems arise.
The new wetlands, which resemble vernal pools and cover 3½ acres off Hines Hill Road, were required under federal law because the cleanup had destroyed wetlands on the Krejci site, he said.
The wetlands will look more like wetlands in coming years as vegetation is planted and develops, Davis said.
The park plans to open the Krejci site to the public in the future as a grassy area in the Cuyahoga Valley park, he said.
For more information on the cleanup, go to www.nps.gov/cuva/parknews/krejci.htm.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.