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Friday, June 2, 2017

Ohio EPA Expected to Spend $6 Million on Noble Road Dump Clean-Up in East Cleveland

Posted By on Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 10:41 AM

The Noble Road dump remains a looming, poisonous mountain resting snugly alongside the homes of East Cleveland residents. While Arco Recycling (sic) has appealed the Ohio EPA's order to shut down operations and halt all deliveries, state officials are now hoping that the giant pile of housing debris, old tires and concrete will be dismantled later this summer. A budget line item suggests $6 million from the Ohio EPA's will take care of that.

Even though the budget is not yet approved, work is expected to begin soon.

The Ohio EPA reports that it will track the environmental progress in real time this summer, publishing data and updates for the public as the dump is taken out of the neighborhood. A contractor has not yet been identified.

Until then, the problem persists. Neighbors along Noble Road remain cautious about the news.

"They — and when I say 'they,' I mean the city, the county and the state — with all our complaints going to all three areas of government, we weren't getting any response, and then all of a sudden I read this article in the newspaper," Willie Morrow says. "I don't believe nothing until it happens. It's just been a mess."

Morrow's front porch looks across the street toward the heaping piles of debris. East Cleveland City Hall, located a bit south on Euclid Avenue, has been well aware of the dump site for years now. Morrow and his neighbors have called their elected officials and the police department countless times.

click to enlarge ERIC SANDY / SCENE
Armed with what can only be a set of brass cojones, East Cleveland Mayor Brandon King said yesterday, "At some point it went south." Residents had been vocally complaining since almost the moment Arco started its work. The tone of that message flies in the face of the hazardous state of affairs at the Arco site, which includes the presence of hydrogen sulfide (a byproduct of gypsum drywall materials left out in the rain). Inhaling that stuff can produce an encyclopedia of health problems, ranging from eye irritation and nausea to paroxysmal convulsions and death.

Neighbors tell Scene that the dump produces the unpleasant odor of "dirty laundry," and that buildings up and down Noble Road have had "a rat problem" for the past few years. According to a public record, on June 12, 2015, the Cleveland Division of Air Quality confirmed to at least one resident that "asbestos is located at the site."

King himself supported the sale of the land to Arco, which was given almost exactly zero seconds of thought and review by City Council. The sale landed the city's general fund a cool $125,000, which was meant to cover immediate payroll shortfalls in early 2014.

The city will host a town hall meeting on June 12 to go over the next steps and the health and environmental implications of bringing down a massive dump.

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