Columbia begins cleanup

Staff reports

COLUMBUS – Columbia Gas of Ohio will conduct a cleanup project at a site in Portsmouth that is a part of the city’s history. The cleanup comes after testing has shown that there is no current risk to health or the environment.

The site is a portion of the block bordered by Second, Third, Jefferson and Madison streets. A predecessor of Columbia Gas used the site to manufacture a gas used for heating, cooking and lighting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Once pipelines were laid to provide a dependable source of natural gas, the plant was closed and eventually demolished.

Columbia Gas tested the site and found by-products and residues of the manufacturing process. There is no risk at present. To be sure the site does not pose a problem over the long run, the company will remove impacted soil and replace it with clean fill. The investigation and cleanup are being conducted as part of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Voluntary Action Program.

The project is set to begin this month and be completed by the end of April. Neighbors will notice traffic on Third Street weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Covered trucks will transport the material. The site will be surrounded by a fence, with gates locked after working hours.

Air quality will be monitored to ensure the safety of the public and workers. People in the area may notice an occasional odor of tar or mothballs during the work.

Anyone with questions about the project should contact Dave Rau at Columbia Gas at 614-460-6808 or [email protected] The Portsmouth City Health Department also has information on the types of materials found at the site.

Columbia Gas of Ohio, headquartered in Columbus, is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. Serving approximately 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers, Columbia Gas of Ohio is the largest natural gas utility in the state.

Staff reports