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Background

Vernay Laboratories Inc. owns and operates a 10-acre facility at 875 Dayton St. in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Since the early 1950s, the facility has been manufacturing specialty rubber components for the automotive and medical industries. Two rubber manufacturing buildings, a storage building, asphalt driveways, parking lots and a grass field are on the property.

Vernay has been testing the water underground (called ground water) at the facility and in the surrounding area since 1998 via a network of monitoring wells. Results have shown that ground water contaminated with volatile organic compounds (chemicals that evaporate in air easily such as solvents) has flowed underneath Vernay,s eastern property boundary. In addition, samples collected from storm sewers at the facility and sediments (creek mud) and water from a creek northeast of the facility contain low levels of these chemicals. Testing has revealed that soil next to and beneath structures at the facility contains volatile organic compounds and petroleum products.

In 2001, EPA conducted a study and identified possible “source” areas – areas that could have leaked chemicals into ground or surface water. These areas include sewer lines, floor drains, drum storage areas, dust suppression and weed control areas, loading docks, a storm water catch basin, a septic system and hydraulic oil trench, a fill area, and vapor degreasers. Some of these source areas no longer are on the property.

Vernay has installed systems to pump water from underneath the ground and remove chemicals using activated carbon. The cleaned water is then discharged to sanitary sewers. These “pump and treat” systems will slow the movement of contaminated ground water.

In September 2002, Vernay and EPA signed a legal order called an administrative order on consent. In this order, Vernay agrees to conduct a study to determine the type of contaminants involved, and the extent of contamination. The company also agrees to clean up contamination and take actions to keep contaminated ground water from flowing into unpolluted areas away from the site. EPA refers to the study and cleanup as “corrective action.” EPA will oversee and approve the work. More detail can be found in the order dated September 27, 2002, and other site documents located here and in the Yellow Springs Community Library.

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