Residue samples still being studied

EAST LIVERPOOL – Some data has been received by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding samples of residue taken after a July 13 accident at the Heritage-Thermal Service (HTS) hazardous waste incinerator, but what that data actually shows has not yet been determined.

Mike Settles, OEPA spokesman, said Friday the agency had just received information from HTS on samples its employees had gathered and said he believed some other data has been received.

“Now, what does it all mean?” he pondered, saying a meeting is planned next week with the company to go over the results, get some additional details and to see what steps HTS has taken to avoid future ash build ups and prevent such releases.

Although HTS issued a statement shortly after the incident saying it appeared that short-term exposure to the release of ash had caused no adverse health effects, Settles said the OEPA has not received the company’s toxicology report, and a summary it posted on its website “doesn’t say how they drew the conclusions they drew.”

The company’s summary, available in full at its website, did show some high levels of lead and arsenic on a vehicle parked closest to the fence at the facility, and Settles said, “We will ask about that,” although he said the area is an industrial community and some of the elements found could have been there a long time.

The OEPA is also consulting with the Ohio Department of Health on the issue, sharing data to be looked at by ODOH toxicologists. An environmental specialist has also been hired by the company, and Settles said additional sampling was conducted by her on Monday.

“It could take as long as a month to get those results,” he said.

No notices of violation have been issued against the company at this time, with Settles saying the matter still remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, in its online summary, HTS said it is conducting its own in-depth investigation and, once completed, corrective and preventive actions will be taken to minimize the possibility of a reoccurrence.

The company is considering adding new laboratory equipment for additional testing of materials, planning more frequent incinerator cleanings and outages to remove residue and installing additional ash removal equipment.

In addition, the company is considering more surveillance monitoring.

The complete summary can be found at