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Attorney General DeWine Announces Agreement to Environmental Investigation at Former Explosives Manufacturing Site in Central Ohio


(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Attorney General Mike DeWine said today that a consent decree has been agreed to by his office, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio EPA), Otterbein University and the U.S. Department of Defense that will outline responsibilities in investigating contamination on the former Kilgore Manufacturing property, located at 600 N. Spring Road in Westerville (Delaware County). The property is now owned by Otterbein.

In addition to requiring cost sharing between Otterbein and the Department of Defense, the consent decree requires both parties to pay costs to Ohio EPA for its oversight of the investigation and to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for its enforcement efforts. The agreement also provides that the parties will work toward a final consent decree regarding property cleanup after the investigation work is completed in the coming years. Judge George Smith, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, signed the consent decree last week.

"With all the parties involved working together to find a solution, we are on the way to ensuring that any needed cleanup will be done," said Attorney General DeWine.

Attorney General DeWine filed a complaint against Otterbein and the Defense Department on behalf of the State last June. The complaint sought cost recovery for the State’s response costs and injunctive relief for the site remediation.

“This agreement resolves important questions about the environmental investigation work at the former explosives manufacturing site and brings us one step closer to deciding how best to protect public health and safety by addressing any remaining contamination,” said Ohio EPA Director Scott J. Nally. After the comprehensive investigation is completed, Ohio EPA will prepare a preferred plan for the site and hold a public hearing. Public comments will be taken into consideration prior to Ohio EPA issuing a final decision document. A remedial design and remedial action consent decree is required before implementing the final site remedy. The process is expected to take several years.

Starting in the early 1940s, Kilgore produced ordnance (incendiary items and detonation devices) under contract with the present day Department of Defense. After World War II, Kilgore made toy cap guns and pyrotechnics for public use and illuminating flares for civilian and military use until 1961 when the facility closed. In 1962, the property was donated to Otterbein. As a result of manufacturing, waste was disposed of on site. Eight specific areas of concern have been identified as the focus of future site investigations and potential clean-up activities.

Otterbein and other parties have investigated the site on numerous occasions and conducted multiple rounds of surface clean-up activities. Several years ago, Otterbein asked the State to file a complaint and seek a consent decree that would require the University to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study of the property and require the Department of Defense to contribute its share of the investigation costs incurred by the University. The Attorney General then filed a complaint that was consolidated with a case initiated by Otterbein against the Department of Defense. Before the Attorney General filed its complaint, the Department of Defense had agreed to negotiate the consent decree that would settle claims in both cases.

Related documents are located here and at the Ohio EPA website.

Media Contacts:

Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Mark Moretti: 614-466-3840
Erin Strouse (Ohio EPA): 614-644-2160

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