Green Springs park revealed as toxic dumping ground

Attorneys, Clyde families to react to news about high PCB levels at former playground

11/14/2012
BLADE STAFF
A report compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals Whirlpool Park, seen here in August, was a dumping ground for PCBs and toxic materials.
A report compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals Whirlpool Park, seen here in August, was a dumping ground for PCBs and toxic materials.

CLYDE, Ohio --For families of Clyde-area children who have contracted cancer in recent years, the findings in a recently released report for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are devastating.

The report indicates that the former Whirlpool Park near Green Springs -- a Sandusky County village southwest of Clyde -- is a virtual “toxic dump,” according to Alan Mortensen, one of two Salt Lake City personal-injury attorneys retained by some of the families to investigate the park and more than a dozen other dump sites in Sandusky County that the Ohio EPA previously said were not contaminated.

READ: Whirlpool letter to Clyde employees

“It’s troubling that they would landscape a park for children using toxic sludge, and then invite the kids of the county to come and play at this park for several years,” Mr. Mortensen said during an afternoon news conference at the Clyde Public Library.

He said the area of the park where the sludge was found “slopes down into the pond, and the pond is what they used to fill the [swimming] pool every year so they would pump the water out of the pond into the pool. That’s a big concern to the family members.”

The report revealed the presence of toxic metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were banned in 1979 and have been proven to cause cancer, in the soil at the 27-acre park about five miles southwest of Clyde. Whirlpool, which built the park in the 1950s, sold the property in 2008.

Steve Keller, whose grandson Kole died from cancer, said the community “has to be made safer.”

“Nothing infuriated me more than when the state came in and said there was nothing there,” he said. “... I knew there was a lot there and now we all know there’s a lot there.”