OHIO: Restoration Comes to Dover Chemical Superfund Site

Dover Chemical plant

DOVER, Ohio, October 4, 2022 (ENS) – The Dover Chemical Corporation will implement and fund natural resource restoration and protection projects to resolve state and federal allegations of natural resource damages associated with the Dover Chemical Corporation Superfund Site along Interstate 77 in east central Ohio. The proposed settlement includes the surrounding natural resource damage assessment area in Dover, Ohio.

Dover Chemical has agreed to restore and protect 28.5 acres of wetlands in Stark County and protect 195 acres of riparian habitat in Tuscarawas, Jefferson, Columbiana, and/or Belmont counties.

The proposed consent decree, lodged Monday by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, together with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the state of Ohio and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, is related to a 2017 complaint.

The United States’ 2017 complaint alleged that operations at the Dover Chemical plant have released hazardous substances to the site for decades.

That action resulted in a 2018 decree that implemented the final Superfund remedial work at the Dover site and expressly reserved the right of Ohio and the United States to pursue compensation for natural resource damages.

Dover Chemical Corporation is a subsidiary of ICC Industries Inc., based in New York. From 1951, Dover Chemical Corporation has operated the chemical plant in Dover, Ohio, today a city of some 13,000 residents 82 miles south of Cleveland.

Dover Chemical produces chemicals used as additives in metalworking fluids, paints, coatings, adhesives, plastics, rubber, textiles, and drilling mud.

Dover produces alkylphenols, chlorinated alkanes, polymer additives, liquid and solid antioxidants, such as organophosphites, and flame retardants, among many other chemicals.

Dover Chemicals used to produce short-chained chlorinated paraffins, but a 2012 ENS covered the legal settlement between Dover and the federal government ended the manufacture of short-chained chlorinated paraffins in the United States. Read the story here.

Dover paid $1.4 million for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act by manufacturing short-chained, medium-chained and long-chained chlorinated paraffins without first submitting a pre-manufacture notice to the EPA administrator.

As part of the settlement, Dover Chemical stopped manufacturing short-chain chlorinated paraffins, which have persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic characteristics.

Scientists determined that short-chain chlorinated paraffins – used in lubricants and coolants, and as flame retardants in plastics – are toxic to humans and also to aquatic animals even at low concentrations. These chemicals bioaccumulate in wildlife and humans, persist and are transported globally in the environment.

For its medium-chain and long-chain chlorinated paraffin products, Dover Chemical agreed to submit premanufacture notices to the EPA.

The Natural Resources Damage Assessment

Ohio EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are joint trustees for the biological and surface water resources impacted by contamination at the Dover Chemical Superfun Site, while Ohio EPA is the trustee for the groundwater resource.

The trustees began an natural resource damages assessment in 2009 that evaluated natural resource injuries to land surrounding the Dover Chemical Corporation plant and groundwater impacted by an underground plume of contamination that extends to the south of the plant.

The assessment identified injury to the surface water and underlying sediments, biological resources and supporting habitats, and ground water resources in the assessment area caused by hazardous substances.

The proposed decree addresses natural resource damages, with Dover Chemical Corporation agreeing to implement projects that will restore and protect 28.5 acres of wetlands in Stark County and protect 195 acres of riparian habitat in Tuscarawas, Jefferson, Columbiana, and/or Belmont counties.

Some of the 250 volunteers who cleaned up Dover, Ohio on May 5, 2018 for the annual Dover Pride Cleanup Day (Photo courtesy Dover Main Street)

Dover Chemical Corporation will also pay $880,000 to the State of Ohio to fund projects near the site to protect, restore, or enhance state ground water resources.

Finally, Dover Chemical Corporation will pay for costs incurred by Ohio and the United States to assess injuries to natural resources associated with the Site, including approximately $648,000 for state assessment costs and $745,000 for federal assessment costs.

“Today’s consent decree is a milestone in our efforts to protect and restore our valuable natural resources in Dover, Ohio, and the surrounding area,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously pursue natural resource damage claims in cooperation with our state partners.”

“Ohio takes threats to our environment and natural resources seriously,” said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. “This consent decree is good for the environment and good for the people of Tuscarawas County.”

“We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked in coordination with the State of Ohio to reach this settlement that will help restore fish and wildlife resources affected by release of contaminants,” said Service Deputy Midwest Regional Director Charles Traxler. “We are pleased to be part of the effort to restore a part of Ohio’s natural heritage.”

“This consent decree is a positive step forward and the projects that Dover Chemical has committed to under the decree will result in improvements to stream habitats and waterways in the area,” said Ohio EPA Director Laurie Stevenson.

On its website, Dover Chemical declares the company’s “dedication to the principles of Responsible Care, including product stewardship, community awareness, emergency response, pollution prevention, process safety, distribution, and employee health & safety.”

The proposed decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, resolves the United States’ and Ohio’s natural resource damage allegations under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. It will be available for viewing at www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decrees.

The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio EPA are seeking concurrent public comment on the Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (Draft RP/EA). The Draft RP/EA informs the public about the proposed natural resource damage restoration and protection projects included in the negotiated settlement with Dover. The trustees invite the public to view and comment on the Draft RP/EA from October 3 to November 2, 2022 at https://fws.gov/project/dover-chemical-corp-nrdar-sugar-creek-ohio.

Featured image: Firefighters contained a fire at Dover Chemical in the late night hours of June 10, 2021. Dover, Ohio (Photo courtesy International Assn. of Fire Fighters Local 324 via “Times Reporter”)

Continue Reading