CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) – The Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership wants an EPA grant to clean up 2,400 barrels left from a former brick plant in Champion.

The property is tucked away in an isolated part of the township, but those barrels could potentially contain hazardous materials, so the property needs to be cleaned up.

If you turn down Folsom Street at the Champion McDonald’s, go past Big Lots and Save A Lot and then go down an overgrown dirt path, you’ll see what’s left of the Diversified Resources sign and the 2,400 50-gallon drums the company left behind.

“There’s been violations and health mandates to clean it up all the way back to 2001. So it’s been a problem for several decades now,” said Lisa Ramsey of the Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership.

Ramsey led a public meeting Tuesday evening in Champion as part of the process of getting a $1 million EPA Brownfield Cleanup Grant to get rid of what’s left of the plant and the barrels.

“It’s definitely a top priority in our area. It’s a great location. Once it’s cleaned up, it’ll be wonderful for future business,” Ramsey said.

Diversified Resources opened in the 1960s and closed in the 1980s. Some of the broken pieces of refractory brick the company made can still be seen lying around. At one point, there were 5,000 barrels, but the most hazardous were removed. Those left contain swarfs — fine pieces of metal covered with petroleum.

Ramsey: “They are dangerous if they’re exposed in the air or get contaminated with water.”
Reporter Stan Boney: “Flammable?”
Ramsey: “They can be, yes, yes.”
Boney: “Is that the biggest problem with them there? You worried about a fire?”
Ramsey: “Yeah, definitely. That is a concern and one reason we would want to get that cleaned up as soon as possible.”

“We would just like to get them in here and get this cleaned up,” said Champion Township Trustee Rex Fee.

Fee says many people around the plant have well water. So, he wants to make sure nothing toxic gets into their wells during the cleanup. Fee also realizes it’s a major hazard.

“It’s an eyesore of course. We’ve also had a number of fires in that outbuilding by vagrants or squatters or whatever you want to call them. So that’s a concern to the township,” Fee said.

The application for the EPA grant is due on Nov. 22. The $1 million is expected to be enough for a full cleanup.

They hope to know if they received the grant in the spring and, if so, would start to clean up in late summer.