COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - The Ohio Attorney General's office announced May 9 that it has entered into a consent decree that will outline the responsibilities pertaining to an inquiry into contamination at a manufacturing site now owned by Otterbein University
The consent decree with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Otterbein University and the U.S. Department of Defense was filed in federal court.
The decree requires cost sharing between Otterbein and the Department of Defense and for both parties to pay costs to Ohio EPA for its oversight of the investigation and to the Ohio Attorney General's Office for its enforcement efforts. It also provides that the parties will negotiate a final consent decree about property cleanup after the investigation is completed.
"With all the parties involved working together to find a solution, we are on the way to ensuring that any needed cleanup will be done," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.
The Attorney General filed a complaint against Otterbein and the Defense Department on behalf of the State in June. The complaint sought cost recovery for the State's response costs and injunctive relief for the site remediation.
According to the AG's office, after the comprehensive investigation is completed, Ohio EPA will prepare a preferred plan for the site and hold a public hearing. Public comments will be taken into consideration prior to Ohio EPA issuing a final decision document.
A remedial design and remedial action consent decree is required before implementing the final site remedy. The process is expected to take several years.
The property was the site of Kilgore Manufacturing, which made military ordnance (incendiary items and detonation devices). After World War II, it made toy cap guns and pyrotechnics for public use and illuminating flares for civilian and military use. After it closed it was sold to Otterbein.
The AG's office said that the university asked the state to file a complaint several years ago and obtain a consent decree that would require the Otterbein University to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the property and require the Department of Defense to contribute its share of the investigation costs incurred by the university.
The complaint was filed and consolidated with a case initiated by Otterbein against the Department of Defense. Before the Attorney General filed its complaint, the Department of Defense had agreed to negotiate the consent decree that would settle claims in both cases.