The Ohio Department of Transportation wants to buy up a cluster of houses in Licking County because the ground where the homes sit could be dangerous to people’s health.
ODOT met with residents who live on James Street, near the former ODOT facility responsible for the toxins. The facility, which closed in 1987, was said to have leaked toxins, including TCE, into the groundwater.
TCE is a manmade chemical that cannot be seen, smelled or touched. It is mainly used as an industrial cleaner. It can make people sick if ingested.
ODOT said that the toxins are higher than EPA standards. Officials want to buy eight residential properties, help residents move out and tear down the homes.
“I have so many memories in this house I'm never going to be able to get back,” resident Becky Snedeker said.
Snedeker moved into the James Street home with her husband in 2008.
“The other part of me says, ‘If we’re going to get sick and have huge health issues down the road, get out and go,” Snedeker said.
Heather Puryear and her family and living on the edge. She said that their worst fear is the unknown, not knowing how dangerous the chemical could be.
“Telling our kids, they were playing in the dirt, get out of the dirt because we're scared for them,” Puryear said. “It's like we can't let our kids play in the dirt. We're afraid for them to go outside."
ODOT says it will offer these residents fair market value for their homes, and also help with moving expenses. It could still be months before ODOT officially makes an offer to buy the homes.
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