Site history: Manufacturing activity and waste management
practices at the site began in the early 1940s.
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio.
Case status: The natural resource damages claim for the Fields
Brook operable unit was settled for $850,000 in 1999. The trustees have
released a natural resource restoration plan for Fields Brook, and are
continuing to assess natural resource injuries in the remaining areas of the
river and harbor.
Overview: Since the early 1940s, manufacturing activity and
waste management practices at industrial facilities in the watershed have
resulted in the release of hazardous substances to Fields Brook. Hazardous
substances, including PCBs, chlorinated solvents and metals, have migrated
downstream from Fields Brook to the Ashtabula River and Harbor, contaminating
bottom sediments, fish and wildlife. There are presently more than one million
cubic yards of contaminated sediment in the Ashtabula River and Harbor, and the
area has been designated as an international Area of Concern. Under the Great
Lakes Legacy Act, dredging of approximately 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated
sediments was begun in 2006 and is expected to be completed in 2009.
State and federal natural resource trustees are conducting a natural resource
damage assessment for the Ashtabula River and Harbor, and will determine the
extent of restoration required to compensate for these injuries. Hazardous
substances at the site include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated
benzenes, chlorinated ethenes, hexachlorobutadiene, polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons (PAHs), other organic chemicals, heavy metals and low-level
Potentially affected natural resources at the site include migratory birds
(including songbirds), numerous fish species, surface water (including
sediments), geologic resources, groundwater, waterfowl, and fish-eating
mammals. Services to the public have also been affected, including
sport-fishing, hunting, bird-watching, navigation, boating and tourism.