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Congressional District # 13


EPA ID# OH0000563122
Last Updated: March, 2015

Site Description

The Copley Square Plaza Superfund site is located in Copley Township, Summit County, Ohio. The site first came to the attention of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA) due to citizen complaints of an odor in water from wells serving a dry cleaner facility and a grocery store in the Copley Square Shopping Center.

Ohio EPA found that the groundwater beneath the site contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at levels higher than what Ohio EPA considers to be safe.  Investigations at the dry cleaners revealed that chemicals used for dry cleaning, the same VOCs found in the groundwater, were being disposed/stored in eight wastewater tanks in the back room of the facility.  Testing showed that the eight wastewater tanks were leaking the VOCs into the groundwater under the building.

After four years of extensive testing in the 1990s, Ohio EPA asked for assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect local residents from the contaminated groundwater and to remove the eight wastewater tanks. 

EPA conducted extensive testing of nearby homes, installed water treatment systems in seven nearby homes that had contaminated wells, closed the eight wastewater tanks at the dry cleaners and installed a system to treat the ground water. After the in-home treatment systems were in place and tested to ensure their effectiveness at removing the volatile organic compounds, EPA turned over the maintanence of the in-home treatment systems to Ohio EPA. Ohio EPA continued to maintain the systems until fall 2012 when 23 homes were connected to public water supply.  

In 2000, EPA reviewed site conditions at the request of Ohio EPA and found that the groundwater was still contaminated and that there had been no improvement since the mid-1990s. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in April 2005.

Site Responsibility

The Copley Square Plaza site is being addressed through federal and state actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Soil and groundwater were contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE or "PERC"), a volatile organic compound, and its derivatives (breakdown compounds) including trichloroethylene (TCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride (VC).  Long term exposure to these compounds could cause toxic effects.

Seven homes were provided with water treatment systems in the mid-1990s to address contaminated well water.  A few years later, one home decided to connect to public water instead of having the filtration system.  Ohio EPA maintained the six systems since their installation until October 2012 when EPA provided public water connection to those six and seventeen additional residences (23 residences in total).

Cleanup Progress

EPA conducted a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at the Copley site between 2006 and 2009.  Results show that site soil, both under and east of the former dry cleaners, is contaminated with PCE and its breakdown compounds.  Shallow groundwater is also contaminated, though contamination extends east into an undeveloped area between the former dry cleaners and a townhome development.  Deep groundwater contamination extends approximately one-quarter mile southeast of the former dry cleaners.  EPA also conducted indoor air sampling in nearby residences, which revealed PCE and its breakdown compounds in a number of single family homes and townhomes.

In October 2009, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that outlined the cleanup remedy to address contamination in the soil and shallow groundwater. The remedy includes a combination of connecting affected residences to the Akron public water supply, installing vapor intrusion mitigation systems in affected residences, and soil and shallow groundwater treatment.

In January and February 2011, EPA collected indoor-air air samples to determine which residences would require vapor mitigation systems be installed in their basements. From April through June 2011, EPA collected tap water samples to determine which residences should be connected to the public water supply.  EPA then finalized the designs for the public water connection and vapor intrustion mitigation systems. EPA also determined the best treatment method to address the shallow groundwater and soils near the former dry cleaners.

A passive ground water collection system had been installed to collect ground water leaving the eastern side of the dry cleaner facility and water treatment systems were installed in homes with contaminated wells during the mid-1990s. Ohio EPA had been maintaining the water treatment systems since their installation until October 2012 when EPA completed the connection of those homes to the public water supply.  EPA also connected an additional 17 homes to the public water supply (a total of 23 homes), abandoned all 23 private drinking water wells, and performed road, right-of-way, and yard restoration to bring the site back to its original condition as the first part of the cleanup action.

In August 2012, two of the homes that received public water also received vapor intrusion mitigation systems along with five others.  Indoor systems (about the size of a basketball) were placed in basements found to have elevated concentrations of dry-cleaning chemicals present in the indoor air and/or under the building slab. These systems extract the vapors from below the slab and actively vent them outdoors, where they diffuse.  Addressing these homes suspected to have vapors rising up through the ground and entering them, a process known as "vapor intrusion," is the second part of the selected cleanup action.  EPA will sample the mitigation systems at least yearly for the first five years after installation to ensure they are functioning as intended.

From June-September 2013, the third part of the cleanup was completed.  EPA injected zero-valent iron (iron filings mixed with carbon) into the contaminated ground water through a process called in-situ injection.  EPA secured the perimeter with a temporary chain-link fence and then drilled injection points into the ground from above the ground water contaminant plume.  The zero-valent iron is neutralizing the dry-cleaning chemicals and will render them harmless over time (minimum of 15 years).  A second round of injection of iron filings may be necessary in 2015, depending on the rate of chemical neutralization.  EPA will monitor the groundwater every three months for the next 10 years to determine the rate of attenuation of the pollutants in the groundwater.

EPA began additional investigative work in the deep groundwater aquifer in April 2011.  EPA installed new intermediate and deep monitoring wells in February-May 2012, and will collect quarterly samples until January 2015.  EPA will then use that data to evaluate site conditions with respect to contamination in the intermediate and deep groundwater aquifers. EPA plans to issue a proposed cleanup plan for public comment in mid-June 2015 and then a ROD to select a cleanup approach for the intermediate and deep groundwater aquifers in August 2015.

Community Involvement

EPA held a public meeting on its proposed cleanup plan on July 22, 2009, and received numerous comments on the Proposed Plan.

EPA went door-to-door in 2011 during the early portion of the vapor and tap water sampling events and was able to assist with the collection of samples.

In August 2012, EPA made telephone calls to answer residents' questions related to vapor intrusion mitigation systems and the public water connections.

From April-October 2013, EPA responded to telephone calls from residents concerning the in situ injection work and the yard restoration processes related to the water main extension work.


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
margaret gielniewski (gielniewski.margaret@epa.gov)
(312) 886-6244

Community Involvement Coordinator, U.S. EPA
susan pastor
(312) 353-1325




Site Profile Information

This profile provides you with information on EPA's cleanup progress at this Superfund site.


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