On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The Fields Brook site, located about 55 miles east of Cleveland in Ashtabula, Ohio, is a 6-square-mile watershed of a brook where up to 19 separate facilities have operated since 1940. Activities range from metals fabrication to chemicals production. Fields Brook flows into the Ashtabula River, which flows into Lake Erie about one-and-a-half-miles downstream of the site. Fields Brook sediment and soil from the Fields Brook floodplain/wetlands area are contaminated with a wide variety of contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated solvents and metals.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s cleanup. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended.
What Is the Current Site Status?
EPA has completed a status review of the cleanup. This type of review is required at least every five years where the cleanup is complete but hazardous waste remains managed on-site. These reviews are done to ensure that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.
The review included:
- An evaluation of background information
- Cleanup requirements
- Effectiveness of the cleanup and any anticipated future actions
- An analysis of ways for EPA to operate more efficiently
The review found that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment. The next scheduled review will be in 2019. The Third Five-Year Review Report details the site's progress.
EPA modified its September 1997 decision document for the Detrex source area regarding containment and removal of the source area from Fields Brook. This modification, called an Explanation of Significant Differences, or ESD, also addresses the extraction of heavy liquid in the on-site source area.
The Fields Brook site is comprised of four miles of brook and six industrial areas. Cleanup is ongoing in the area known as the Detrex Corp. Facility where "extraction wells" pull out liquid containing high levels of volatile and semi-volatile contaminants such as trichloroethylene or TCE, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene from underneath the property. Because this liquid is so heavy, it has a tendency to sink when it enters ground water.
More than 20,000 gallons of liquid have been removed. An investigation of the current extraction system and possible alternative systems was done by Detrex Corp., one of the companies potentially responsible for the contamination. The report is available to the public.
EPA also oversaw work done by Detrex, in 2011 and 2012, which involved a small area in a nearby tributary. Contaminated sediment was removed from the tributary downstream from Detrex immediately west of State Road. After removing this sediment, Detrex lined the inside of the culvert with concrete and lined the tributary channel with stone and gravel. This was set in place with concrete grout underlain by French drains to catch any remaining liquids west of State Road. All storm water from Detrex is currently collected and treated before being released under permit directly to Fields Brook. The company is not currently discharging to the tributary and has not done so for several decades.
Contamination found during monitoring in the part of Fields Brook that runs between Millennium and the Detrex Corp. facility was cleaned up by the Fields Brook Action Group (several companies potentially responsible for the contamination) in 2009. This cleanup involved removing more than 24,000 tons of contaminated soil and re-routing and isolating Fields Brook from potentially contaminated floodplain soil.
The cleanup and re-routing were done to prevent recontamination of downstream areas of Fields Brook and the nearby Ashtabula River. The river was cleaned up separately in 2008 under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.
Work in the State Road area of Fields Brook was completed in 2009 in conjunction with Ashtabula County’s reconstruction of the State Road Bridge over Fields Brook.
Activity and Use Limitations
At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.
For more background, see Institutional Controls.
VOC and SVOC by-products from chlorinated solvent manufacturing, including trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, hexachlorobutadiene, and hexachlorobenzene. PCB 1248 also known as Therminol, formerly used as a heat transfer fluid.
Sampling and Monitoring
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.