Bob Downing

Construction of waterlines to connect 30 homes in Copley Township to Akron water is scheduled to begin next week.


Streets south of Copley Road and east of Jacoby Road between Elizabeth Avenue and Sunnyacres Road might be partially closed or have limited access in areas where pipes are being installed, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


The EPA-funded work is to continue from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays into October, the agency said.


The project is part of a three-step remedy to correct contamination of an aquifer from a former dry-cleaning shop at the Copley Square Plaza that surfaced in 1990.


The EPA intends to remove water filtration systems from the last six homes using them.


The EPA had installed eight filtration systems with air strippers and carbon filters in 1994, but two households switched to city water at their own expense. A ninth home rejected the equipment.


Workers will close private wells at the properties being connected to the public water so future residents do not unknowingly use contaminated water.


The EPA also is installing equipment in 10 houses and condominiums to ensure that harmful vapors are not coming through the ground and affecting indoor air.


The cost of the water connections and air controls is $1.5 million.


In the fall, the EPA also intends to inject a mixture into the shallow aquifer to break up the dry-cleaning chemicals that caused the contamination. The design for the $2 million system should be completed this summer.


There is no immediate health threat, but residents could be at risk because of long-term exposure, the EPA said.


The contamination was detected by odors in water from two wells serving the plaza at 2777-2799 Copley Road.


In 1994, the Ohio EPA discovered 8,000 gallons of toxic chemicals stored in eight homemade pits under the plaza’s dry-cleaning shop.


The plaza’s two water wells were abandoned and a trench and sump system was built to remove contaminants from the soil and groundwater.


State and federal officials thought the pollution problem had been rectified in the mid-1990s, but in 2000, contamination was found to be spreading to the south and east.


In 2005, the site became part of the federal Superfund cleanup program.


Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.