EPA urges quick action on Riverside contamination


RIVERSIDE, Ohio (WDTN) – A vapor investigation in Riverside is now more serious than first thought. That’s why at a meeting Wednesday night, the EPA urged the 100 homes still yet to be tested to be tested immediately.

The EPA said the vapors are more widespread, and levels detected inside the homes are higher.

“I have a lot of family that lives in that neighborhood, the Valley Street neighborhood, and several people have died of cancer, which we always attributed to maybe it was smoking, or whatever, said Sharlett Bentrup. “But now that you find out this is not just an issue that happened two years ago. It happened 30 years ago. So you wonder what we’ve all been exposed to.”

People who have lived in Riverside for years are now worried the air in their homes could be affecting their health. After testing the groundwater, on-scene coordinators with the Environmental Protection Agency said things have changed in the last seven months.

“What we found is it not only expanded horizontally to the southwest, an expanded area that we identified as having contamination in the groundwater. But higher levels in the houses as well,” explained Steve Renninger of the EPA.

The EPA has tested 199 homes in the Hypathia Avenue and Valley Pike Street area. They found 72 homes had greater than screening levels, of PCE and TCE. They detected vapors in 83 homes, but they’ll need re-sampled. Forty-four homes had less than detection levels.These chemicals are commonly used in dry cleaning, and degreasing metals, and likely are present as the result of a some sort of spill that happened long ago, Renninger speculates.

The EPA is offering mitigation systems to homes with high levels of the vapors and will pay for the $5,000 for the system. It would cost homeowners six dollars a month, for electricity.

Many people are worried about the value of their homes. That’s why the mayor of Riverside, along with the EPA, is urging those 100 homeowners, to sign the papers.

“It’s important to get your house tested so that when you try to sell your house, you’ll have all the proper identification and information that you can share with the owner of the house,” advised Mayor Bill Flaute.

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