Planned disposal of material from beryllium site draws concern


WALBRIDGE — Concern is starting to mount over a proposal to put some of the soil from the Luckey
beryllium production site in a local landfill.
“I absolutely have concerns,” said Walbridge Mayor Ed Kolanko after Wednesday’s council meeting. “That
waste that would be coming into the area is toxic.”
Councilwoman Tamra Williams said during her buildings and lands committee report that she had been
contacted by Lake Township Trustee Richard Welling about plans to possibly store soil from the Luckey
site at Evergreen Recycling & Disposal Landfill, Northwood. The landfill is operated by Waste
Management Inc.
A public meeting to inform the public about cleanup work at the Luckey site is set for March 28 at 6 p.m.
at the Luckey American Legion Post 240.
Kolanko said he plans on attending the meeting to gain a better understanding about the waste and if it
could come to the neighboring city.
“It’s got to be cleaned up,” the mayor said. “But we want to make sure … that safety is the No. 1
caution being taken.”
The Lake Township Trustees also mentioned the public meeting in Luckey at their meeting last week.
According to some information shared at that meeting, Steve Lonnemon, Waste Management Inc., contacted
the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in early February to indicate that they may be receiving some
of the soil from the cleanup.
“If sent to Evergreen, the soil may be shipped and received in large double-bagged plastic bags,” the
Feb. 16 email stated.
“If received by Evergreen, WMI would request that the material be managed separate from the landfill’s
working face, and that it be placed in a specific location at the landfill using handling practices that
would not tear or disturb these bags.
“Ohio EPA would need to discuss and approve such practices prior to sending or receiving waste from the
Luckey beryllium site. As of this writing, these discussions have not taken place.”
Former Walbridge Councilwoman Joann Schiavone, also known as an activist in the community, said she was
horrified at the thought of soil from the former beryllium production site being stored in the area.
“There is stuff buried there, you wouldn’t believe,” she said of the Luckey site.
Schiavone said she was part of the initial contingent to get the site cleaned up.
During 2015, the Army Corps of Engineers’ Buffalo Division awarded a 10-year, $100 million contract for
cleanup of contaminated soils on the property, 21200 Luckey Road, near Ohio 582, which the corps refers
to as the Luckey Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program Site.
The site dates back to the 1940s and reportedly had a role in the Manhattan Project, which produced the
first atomic bombs. It was later operated as a beryllium production facility between 1949 and 1958 by
the Brush Beryllium Company, later Brush Wellman, under contract to the Atomic Energy Commission.
In 1951, the site received about 1,000 tons of radioactively contaminated scrap steel, which was to be
used in the production of magnesium. Contaminants were reportedly disposed of there in designated areas
and lagoons.
The location was later operated as other businesses and added to the federal list of “Superfund” cleanup
sites in 1992. Purchased by Industrial Property Recovery, Fremont, in 2008, it is currently fenced off,
with the remains of a number of buildings still visible.
“Now they want to put it in plastic bags,” Schiavone said of the waste. “We have to know what is in that
soil before you put it in a dump.”
She urged residents to attend the meeting to learn more.
“If no one complains about it, this is an easy task.”
Staff Writer Peter Kuebeck contributed to this story.

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