The last remnants of debris from the Arco Recycling Plant in East Cleveland have been removed.
The controversial dump site has been a problem for East Cleveland residents for years. In 2017, Arco was cited by the EPA for operating an illegal waste landfill.
On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) announced that the site's cleanup is drawing to a close. Yuko has worked with state officials to acquire the $9 million it took to clean up the grounds.
Last October the landfill caught fire and smoldered for several days before the flames were fully extinguished. The smoke and acrid smell had many residents concerned for their health.
A month later, authorities raided a building connected to George Michael Riley, one of the owners of the Arco site.
Riley was also named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the State of Ohio against Arco Recycling.
The document stated Riley:
"Endangered the environment and the community of East Cleveland by allowing over 200,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris (C&DD) to be unlawfully disposed on real property located at 1705 Noble Road in East Cleveland, Ohio (the Arco Site). Defendants actions have resulted in a pile of C&DD rising over the homes that are merely yards away from the piles. Without the protections afforded by obtaining a license to dispose of C&DD, there is no way to ensure that this pile of debris has not caused, and is not currently causing, environmental harm."
According to the EPA, the facility was not recycling all of the debris, and over time it piled up. Eventually, the mess reached several stories high.
“No one should have to live in the conditions that the families of Noble Road were forced to tolerate for years,” said Yuko. “We’ve worked together with the community and with state agencies to make this right and now the cleanup is nearly complete. I’m really pleased with the work that’s been done here.”
Crews are now in the final stages of the site's cleanup. Workers are scraping the area to remove any remaining residue, Yuko said.
According to officials, 361,073 cubic yards equaling more than 150,000 tons of debris was removed.