Bob Downing

Final restoration and the planting of vegetation will begin soon at a former toxic-waste dump in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as cleanup enters its final phase.

Workers at the Krejci Dump in northern Summit County have removed all of the contaminated soil on the site, the park has announced.

The cleanup has attained what the National Park Service calls the “rigorous goals for soil remediation” after years of work.

About 371,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris were removed from two tracts of land off Hines Hill Road in Boston and Northfield Center townships. Interstate 271 bisects the sites.

“We are very pleased to complete the soil cleanup remediation after working on this project for many years,” park Superintendent Stan Austin said.

The final cleanup began in 2005, with the initial and major excavation of 225,000 tons of soil completed in September 2007.

Additional excavation of 150,000 tons of contaminated soils began in 2009.

That additional work pushed the project’s price tag beyond the $60 million spent on the initial cleanup.

“The next phase of restoration will begin soon, and by next year we have to have the Krejci site on a path to full recovery,” Austin said.

The site’s 47 acres eventually will be covered in native meadows and wetlands and will be open to the public, the park said.

That work is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Austin said.

The Krejci family once owned the site and operated it as a junkyard and dump from 1948 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, dioxins-furans, benzene, arsenic, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals were found.

From 2005 to 2007, contractor EQ Industrial Services Inc. of Wayne, Mich., hauled away more than 225,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris.

The work, supervised by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, required the removal of 12 inches or less of contaminated soil in some areas but up to 25 feet of soil in other areas.

Ford Motor Co. largely paid for and managed that phase of the cleanup, at a cost of $30 million. Ford and General Motors Corp. dumped material from their Cleveland-area auto plants at Krejci in the 1950s and 1960s.

The federal government also spent $30 million on the initial Krejci surface cleanup. The government later reached a $20 million settlement with six companies: 3M, Chrysler, Waste Management, Kewanee Industries Inc., Chevron USA Inc. and Federal Metals, all of which had dumped there.

Officials have said that 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.

Information on the cleanup is available at www.nps.gov/cuva/parknews/krejci.htm.

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