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BASF Corporation

Site Information
  • Cleveland, OH (Cuyahoga County)
  • EPA ID# OHD000804682
  • Alias(es): Harshaw Chemical Company, Engelhard Corporation
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Rafael P. Gonzalez
(gonzalez.rafaelp@epa.gov)
312-886-0269 or 800-621-8431, ext. 60269

Clean Water Act Contact
Noel Vargas
(vargas.noel@epa.gov)
312-353-3575

Project Manager, RCRA
Carolyn Bury (bury.carolyn@epa.gov)
312-886-3020 or 800-621-8431, ext. 63020

Repositories

(where to view written records)

Cleveland Public Library
Science and Technology Department
325 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44144

U.S. EPA Region 5
77 W. Jackson Blvd. 7th Fl
Chicago, IL 60608

Background

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered BASF Corp. to investigate hazardous waste contamination at its property at 1000 Harvard Ave. in Cleveland. If the investigation reveals health or environmental hazards from the pollution, then BASF must perform a cleanup. The facility, which is no longer operational, was a chemical manufacturer. One part of it, now owned by the Chevron Corporation, once housed uranium research and enrichment for the Manhattan Project atomic bomb development.

U.S. EPA used its authority under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, known as RCRA, to issue an administrative order to BASF for corrective action at the Harvard Avenue site. U.S. EPA determined corrective action was needed to protect human health and the environment.

BASF Corp. must investigate the type and magnitude of contamination on and near its property and complete any cleanup actions identified by U.S. EPA. Right now, BASF is in the investigation phase of the corrective action. Under U.S. EPA oversight, the company will sample and test soil, buried waste, waste piles, groundwater, sediment and surface water for possible contamination. When the investigation is completed, risk assessments will be prepared using the sampling data. U.S. EPA will then determine the level of cleanup required to make the property safe for its next intended purpose.

Site history

From 1905 to 1998, the Harshaw Chemical Company processed and manufactured chemicals at 1000 Harvard Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (the Site). Harshaw also researched and enriched uranium for the U.S. Government from 1944 to around 1953. Due to the uranium enrichment program, the Site is included in the Department of Energy’s Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (“FUSRAP”). Due to releases of pollutants from chemical manufacturing, the Site is also under jurisdiction of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Action Program. Manufacturing ended at the Site around 1998. Since 2006, most of the property has been owned by the BASF Corporation. One part of the Site, Building G-1, is owned by the Chevron Corporation.

Water Cleanup

After completing a preliminary investigation in May 2014, U.S. EPA notified BASF that the company was out of compliance with the Clean Water Act. BASF was discharging heavy metals and uranium into the Cuyahoga River without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Without a NPDES permit, BASF is not permitted to discharge pollutants, even at the low levels found at the sites storm water sewer system outfalls. After unsuccessful negotiations with BASF, U.S. EPA in August issued a Request for Information to BASF requiring monitoring, sampling, analysis and the reporting of pollutants being discharged from the site into the Cuyahoga River and Big Creek. U.S. EPA in October unilaterally ordered BASF to cease the discharge of all pollutants into waterways. By October 17, 2014, BASF stopped the effluent discharge from Outfalls 007 and 006 into the Cuyahoga River. BASF continues with its plan to remove the entire associated storm water sewer system by November 30, 2014.

Site Updates || Fact Sheets || Technical Documents | Public Comment


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Site Updates

January 2016 Update

BASF tore down five old and damaged buildings on its property in 2015.  Remaining buildings are the groundwater treatment plant, a field office trailer, and a Quonset hut.  The treatment plant treats contaminated groundwater from the western portion of the property that has high levels of nickel. 

Contaminated building materials were sent to off-site landfills consistent with regulations.  BASF is using crushed, uncontaminated brick and concrete as fill around the Site.  Building foundations will remain in place until the property undergoes remediation. 

In early 2016, BASF will construct a permanent fence along Harvard Avenue to deter trespassing.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demolished Building G-1, a property owned by Chevron Corporation, in early 2015.  That part of the Site is under the jurisdiction of the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program due to radiological contamination (see above link to the ACOE web page).

October 2014 Update

Potential BASF building demolition

This year, BASF may demolish all of its site structures except for an operating groundwater treatment plant. Before the demolition proceeds, BASF will need permits from the Ohio EPA, the city and other local groups, and would have to identify hazardous or radioactive substances in the buildings. U.S. EPA would monitor the demolition to make sure residents are protected from dust and other hazards.

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Public Comment

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