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Case: Ashtabula River, OH 

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 radionuclides.

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.

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