Underground Toxic Plume Spreading Near Site Of Former ODOT Plant


Toxic chemical contamination is an underground danger, and one that is spreading in Newark.

New test results show that toxins underground are migrating southeast of the former Ohio Department of Transportation plant.

ODOT bought properties that they have determined are affected.

“My mantle, that’s one thing I hate to leave,” said 86-year-old resident Hattie Moran.

Moran said she is sad to leave the place she has lived for most of her life.

“I won’t be satisfied no matter where I move, because this to me, is home,” Moran said.

Moran’s house is one of 10 properties purchased by ODOT to demolish and remediate.

Authorities said toxic gas, trichloroethylene, has seeped into the ground from the ODOT facility that used to test construction site materials.

The site has since been knocked down.

Joe Rutherford, the Deputy Director of ODOT District 5, said that the problems with the old site linger.

“What we know today is trichloroethylene is a carcinogen and when you dump it in the ground, it doesn’t just go away. It ends up in the ground water table,” Rutherford said.

ODOT officials said there is a low percentage chance of anyone actually getting cancer from the toxic fumes, but that is why they are drilling deep.

Moran said that it is worrisome to think about what lies below the surface.

“They said it was contaminated down there,” Moran said. “It scares you, you don’t know what’s going on.”

ODOT’s latest tests show the plume of underground chemicals is moving.

“We will be monitoring the conditions on the site for at least the next 30 years,” Moran said.

Some neighbors, though, aren’t satisfied with the department’s research and response.

The South Newark Civic Association worked with a class at Denison University to conduct test in the neighborhood over the past few weeks.

They plan to unveil the results at a public meeting in Newark.

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