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Ashtabula River and Harbor

Lake Erie, Ohio


Fish warning sign by State of Ohio Health Department

The Ashtabula River is located in northeast Ohio, flowing into Lake Erie at Ashtabula Ohio.  Tributaries include Fields Brook, Hubbard Run, Strong Brook, and Ashtabula Creek.  The bottom sediments, bank soils and biota of Fields Brook have been severely contaminated by unregulated discharges of hazardous substances.  Hazardous substances have migrated downstream from Fields Brook to the Ashtabula River and Harbor, contaminating sediments, fish and wildlife.  Hazardous substances include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated benzenes, chlorinated ethenes, hexachlorobutadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), other organic chemicals, heavy metals and low-level radionuclides. 


Bridge photo

Fields Brook was placed on the National Priorities List ("Superfund") of uncontrolled hazardous waste sites in 1983, pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 USC รบ9601 et seq. (CERCLA) and is being remediated under that authority.  In 1994 the Ashtabula River Partnership (Partnership) was formed to facilitate a voluntary cleanup of the Ashtabula River.  If the Partnership is successful, the cleanup will be funded by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Ohio as well as the Ashtabula River Cooperating Group (ARCG), which consists of Cabot Corp., Detrex Corp., Elkem Metals Co., First Energy Corp., GenCorp, Inc., Mallinckrodt Inc., Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, Millennium Petrochemicals Inc., Ohio Power Co., Olin Corporation, Occidental Chemical Corporation, Pennsylvania Lines LLC, RMI Titanium Co., The Sherwin Williams Company, Union Carbide Corporation, and Viacom International Inc.  If implemented, the Partnership project will result in the removal of much of the contaminated sediment in the Ashtabula River.  However, the Partnership project does not fully address injuries to natural resources.


Therefore, a co-trustee group of natural resource management agencies consisting of the U.S. Department of the Interior ("DOI") (represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service")), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ("Ohio EPA") and the U.S. Department of Commerce (represented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA")), collectively the Trustees, are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in the Ashtabula River and Harbor.  The NRDA will assess injuries to natural resources that have occurred due to the release of hazardous substances and determine whether compensation is due the public.  Compensation will be used to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources and the services they provide.


Natural Resource Damage Assessment Contacts

The links below will allow you to view the Trustee reports for the Ashtabula River and Harbor (Lake Erie; Ohio) Natural Resource Damage Assessment.  Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the latest information released. If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Ashtabula River and Harbor NRDA, contact us via email or telephone:


Regan Williams, Case Manager, Ohio EPA, 330-963-1210 


Annette Trowbridge, Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Response Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 612-713-5104 


Natural Resource Damage Assessment Reports:


May 3, 2012 Consent Decree:

News Release (May 3, 2012): U.S. and State of Ohio Reach $5.5 Million Settlement for Damages from Hazardous Releases in Lower Ashtabula River and Harbor


Consent Decree (Text thru Appendix C partial) Part 1 (PDF) 7.84 MBytes

Appendices A and B to Appendix C - Part 2 (PDF) 0.82 MBytes

Appendices C1 and C2 to Appendix C - Part 3 (PDF) 6.03 MBytes

Appendices D through F - Part 4 (PDF) 1.08 MBytes

Appendix G - Part 5 (PDF) 1.33 MBytes

Natural Resources Damages Complaint (PDF) 2.50 MBytes


Restoration Planning:

Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (.5 MB PDF) (9-09)

Environmental Action Statement (1 MB PDF)

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) (.2 MB PDF)

Appendix A (.5 MB PDF)

Appendix B (.5 MB PDF)

Appendix C1 (3.4 MB PDF)

Appendix C2 (2.4 MB PDF)


Assessment Documents:

Preassessment Screen and Determination (1.5 MB PDF)  Signed by the Service and OEPA in 2001.


Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan for the Ashtabula River and Harbor (518 K PDF file) Issued by the co-trustees November, 2002.


PCBs and HCBs in Ashtabula River water  (161 K PDF file) Issued by co-trustees January 30, 2004


Fish Consumption Advisory Report (2.2 MB PDF format) December 2005


Fish Health Study, Ashtabula River (3.2 MB PDF file) July, 2006


Other links:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Environmental Contaminants Home

U.S. EPA Fields Brook Superfund Site Homepage



Midwest NRDA Home

Midwest Environmental Contaminants Home


Last updated: May 11, 2015