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Congressional District # 14


EPA ID# OHD980614572
Last Updated: May, 2015

Site Description

The Fields Brook site, located approximately 55 miles east of Cleveland, is in the city and county of Ashtabula, Ohio.  It is a six square-mile watershed of a Brook where, from 1940 to the present, up to 19 separate facilities operated.  Activities range from metals-fabrication to chemicals production.  Fields Brook flows into the Ashtabula River, which flows into Lake Erie approximately 1-1/2 miles downstream of the site.  Sediments within Fields Brook, and soils on the Fields Brook floodplain/wetlands area, were contaminated with a wide variety of contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated solvents and metals. Six industrial properties surrounding Fields Brook were potentially recontaminating the sediment within Fields Brook, which has then subsequently contaminated the sediments of the Ashtabula River.  Approximately 23,000 people live within one mile of the site, in the city of Ashtabula.

Upper reaches of Fields Brook flow through areas which are currently heavily industrialized. Future use in these areas is also expected to be industrial. Although access to the brook through these areas is not completely restricted, public use generally is not found due to the industrial nature of the area and the availability of other nearby recreational areas. Lower reaches of the brook flow between residential neighborhoods prior to discharge to the Ashtabula River adjacent to a rail yard. The currently-residential neighborhoods are expected to remain residential use in the future and the rail yard is expected to remain in industrial use.   A State of Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory has been in place for the section of the Ashtabula River which includes the discharge point for Fields Brook since 1983. In 1998 and again in 2004, the advisory was revised to address updated information for PCBs and mercury for a variety of species.  

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

Threats and Contaminants

Sediments and surrounding floodplain soils removed from Fields Brook were contaminated with PCBs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals, phthalates and low-level radionuclides. VOCs and heavy metals including mercury, lead, zinc, and cadmium were detected in surface water from Fields Brook and a tributary.  Contaminated sediments threatened drinking water intakes in Lake Erie.  Contaminants detected in fish included VOCs and PCBs.  The site posed a potential health risk to individuals who would accidentally ingest or come into direct contact with contaminated soils, sediments, and surface water from Fields Brook.  Ingesting contaminated fish also may cause adverse health effects.

Cleanup Progress

The third Five-Year Review of the site was signed by EPA on May 23, 2014. 

Fields Brook Sediment and Floodplain/Wetland Soils (OU1 and OU4) - Construction of an on-site landfill was completed in the summer of 2000. Excavation of Fields Brook soil and floodplain/wetland sediment and low-level radioactive and dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPL) contaminated soil and sediment was completed in December 2002. Thermal treatment was performed onsite for soils and sediment impacted by DNAPL, but not regulated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Restoration activities were completed in Spring 2003. IC requirements are in place at the landfill and in the floodplain in EU8.

In 2009, the Fields Brook Action Group (FBAG) prepared a Focused Feasibility Study to evaluate containment measures for EU8. FBAG rerouted the Brook in EU8 through a lined sedimentation basin and diversion channel, and completed the work in 2010. FBAG made significant repairs to the liner system in 2012. Sincoutine monitoring of brook sediment and floodplain soil identified additional contamination, which was cleaned up in late 2014.

Source Control (OU2) – The discussion below addresses OUs 5 – 10 which replaced OU2.

Ashtabula River (OU3) - Fields Brook flows into the Ashtabula River. The Great Lakes National Program Office is addressing the river’s contaminated sediments.

Detrex Corporation (OU5) – Detrex completed construction of a slurry wall in 2000. Construction of DNAPL extraction wells began in 2001. Detrex constructed the first phase of the DNAPL extraction system in 2002. To date, Detrex has removed over 18,000 gallons of DNAPL from the property and work is on-going. An ESD signed in January 2014, revises the extraction well technology to be used, and provides metrics for measuring progress and achieving site closure. Over 150 DNAPL Well Recovery Points were installed in 2014, and the entire system will be completed by July 2016. ICs are in place on all Detrex-owned property, including its plant operations and former lagoons areas, and the EU8 Fields Brook floodplain adjacent north of the Millennium property. To address historic releases, Detrex removed contaminated sediments from the DS Tributary, and restored the box culvert under State Road in 2012 and 2013.

Millennium TiCl4 Plant (OU6) – Millennium completed excavation of approximately 60,000 cubic yards of PCB- and radium-contaminated soil and mining residuals in the fall of 1999. The excavated materials are in the existing Millennium on-site landfill, approximately one mile northeast of the plant. Upon discovering Therminol FR DNAPL in the EU8 floodplain, EPA
issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to Millennium in 2007 requiring the company to address the associated PCB contamination in sediment and floodplain soils. Millennium completed this removal action in 2008, and a report issued in 2009. Millennium also placed ICs for its property in the EU8 floodplain where PCB contamination remains above unrestricted exposure criteria in 2011.

North Sewers (OU7) - The PCB-contaminated North Sewers were cleaned out and closed by filling with cement grout, and completed in the fall of 2000. ICs were placed in September 2004 to prevent excavation.

Acme Scrap Iron and Metals / South Sewers (OU8) - The excavation and disposal of PCBcontaminated soil and the cleaning of the south sewers was completed in the fall of 2000. ICs were recorded in March 2010.

Conrail Bridge Yard (OU9) – The Potentially Responsible Party (PRPs) completed physical construction in December of 1998. All arsenic-contaminated soil was excavated to residential cleanup standards and shipped for disposal off-site (at the PRPs request). Therefore, no ICs were required.

RMI Metals Property (OU10) – Excavation and disposal of PCB-contaminated soils to meet industrial use standards was completed in the summer of 2001. No ICs were required because material left on-site does not exceed Fields Brook cleanup levels.

Community Involvement

Public information about the Fields Brook site is updated frequently on EPA's web page for the Fields Brook site at http://www.epa.gov/region5/sites/fieldsbrook/index.htm.   Most recent postings include the May 2014 Five Year Review of the site and a January 2014 remedy modification in the form of an Explanation of Significant Differences.  Another ESD for the Detrex Facility is expected to be available for inspection in December 2011.  In addition, the two local repositories of additional information about the Fields Brook site at the Ashtabula County District Library and the Kent State Campus Library in Ashtabula were recently updated by converting the records to CD. 


Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA
owen thompson (thompson.owen@epa.gov)
(312) 886-4843

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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