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. 

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 ú9601 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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of updating webpages, so some content that was previously available is temporarily unavailable.  Please contact the Ohio Ecological Services Field Office for additional information.


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