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Final Cleanup Begins at Master Metals Site

Residents and workers near the site of the former Master Metals Inc. facility in Cleveland's industrial flats area shouldn't be surprised to see construction vehicles and workers in protective clothing at the site starting next week.

The final phase of cleanup at the 4-acre site at 2850 West Third St., near LTV Steel, will last through early May. A group of 48 companies EPA considers legally responsible at the former lead smelter will perform the estimated $500,000 cleanup under EPA and Ohio EPA oversight.

The cleanup will be performed under an agreement called an administrative order on consent. Under this agreement the companies agreed to:

  • Clear vegetation and demolish concrete walls. Concrete slab that is in good shape will remain. The former office building and historic railroad roundhouse will also be left in place.
  • Excavate soil not covered by concrete, including the soil outside the fence that has lead higher than EPA standards for industrial areas. The remaining contaminated soil will be treated and disposed of off-site at an EPA-approved facility.
  • Replace excavated soil with clean fill and seeded topsoil. Four inches of asphalt will cover a part of the southern portion. A new fence will also be installed.

The work will complete a 1997 limited-scope cleanup in which EPA oversaw the excavation, demolition and safe disposal of contaminated buildings, debris and machinery at the site and cleanup of a residential yard in the 1100 block of Holmden Ave. Following this final cleanup, in summer 2003, the site will be redeveloped as the new home of Northern Ohio Lumber and Timber Co. (NOLTCO). NOLTCO received grants and loans from the state of Ohio and the city of Cleveland's Department of Economic Development to assist in the redevelopment of the property.

The 100-year-old railroad roundhouse on the site will be restored as a railroad museum by a non-profit group.

The agreement includes a $62,760 reimbursement to EPA for costs incurred in limited-scope cleanup actions and staff time. The responsible companies agreed to reimburse EPA for future oversight costs.

The smelter was operated by NL Industries from 1933 to 1979, when it was sold to Master Metals. Ohio EPA shut down the facility in 1993 following a number of air quality and other violations. The formal site area also included the yard on Holmden Avenue, where lead-contaminated material was deposited as fill in 1987. The contaminated soil was removed, treated and stockpiled at the Master Metals facility, awaiting ultimate disposal. Clean soil was deposited, and new landscaping was completed in 1998.

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