Officials say they are addressing the situation.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- The potential site for a Family Branch YMCA here may need some extra cleanup due to what is believed to be ground contamination in a nearby stream and wetlands.
The YMCA and Humility of Mary Health Partners are teaming up to put a $9 million facility at the St. Elizabeth Campus at Market Street and McClurg Road. HMHP owns the property, but will lease the space for the building to the YMCA.
According to HMHP officials, a potential contamination problem was discovered during a wetlands review of the property. Wetlands on the property must be moved elsewhere before the site can be developed.
EPA notified: Officials said the Environmental Protection Agency was notified of the problem.
Brian Hall with the surface water division of the EPA said the contamination could be related to a spill at a chroming plant on Southern Boulevard in July 2000. The company, he said, uses chrome to plate certain items -- and chrome got into the discharge from the plant and into a nearby stream associated with the wetlands.
Rod Beals, EPA environmental manager, said his office was contacted about discoloration in the stream and took a sample for testing. The sample, he said, showed a relatively high concentration of chrome. The U.S. EPA was then notified.
Beals said the U.S. EPA took a number of samples, many closer to the potential YMCA site and St. Elizabeth campus, than did his office. He could not be sure if the samples collected closer to the building site also showed a high concentration of the chrome contamination.
Representatives from the U.S. EPA office could not be reached.
HMHP officials said they have no indication that the soil poses any danger to area residents, businesses, or visitors to the campus.
Taking steps: Officials said they are taking steps to appropriately address any soil contamination and will continue to work closely with the EPA to correct any potential problems and comply with regulatory standards.
The St. Elizabeth Boardman Campus Cancer Care Center and emergency center is still in normal operation.
Chris McCarty, HMHP spokesman, said there has been land clearing at the site for the YMCA, but officials are still waiting on EPA permits and a plan of action on what needs to be done. He said site work is continuing in other areas to avoid soil erosion.
Ken Rudge, the YMCA's chief executive, said he does not see a potential problem with the project based on information he received. He plans to move forward with the plans to break ground in April.