Owners let 13abc inside Whirlpool Park gates as testing begin - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Owners let 13abc inside Whirlpool Park as testing begins

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GREEN SPRINGS, Ohio -

We have new details about the property that some believe may hold answers in the Clyde Cancer Cluster.

In-depth testing has begun on the old Whirlpool Park site where earlier this year the US Environmental Protection Agency found high levels of toxic metals and PCB's in the soil.

13abc's Christine Long was in Green Springs on Wednesday where the property owners let our cameras inside the fences for the first time.

The owners are a father and son.

They want to know as much as the rest of the community if something on the property is causing kids to get sick.

At least 37 children within a 12-mile radius in the Eastern Sandusky County area have been diagnosed with some form of cancer in the past 17 years.

Wednesday the owners of the closed park unlocked the gate to show they are being thorough.

"This right here was the edge of the pool. You'll see some No Diving signs," says Tom Bowlus as he walks our crew around the property in Green Springs.

Bowlus is the attorney for the Abdoo family who bought the old Whirlpool Park property from Whirlpool Corporation a few years ago.

Last week the company, which is the largest employer in Clyde, signed an agreement with the family allowing Whirlpool to test the property with oversight by the US EPA.

"We're trying to thoroughly characterize this site and find out everything there is to know about the property. We're not trying to hide everything," says Bowlus.

Whirlpool purchased the property in 1953 and operated it as a park for employees and their families before closing it down seven years ago.

The old concession stand still stands, as well as swings and slides.

The large pool, which was filled with spring water when it was open for families to enjoy, now sits empty.

One of the men who bought the old park is Jonathan Abdoo. He had big visions for this property. He wanted to turn the old pool into a pond. And wooden markers up on the nearby hill show where he planned to build his family's dream home.

Those plans are now on hold.

On Tuesday two certified environmental professionals had their first walkover on the site.

In January 60 ton rigs will be out there digging 100 feet deep.    

"Certainly the PCB's that were found are concerning and we want to know the exact scope and extent of that contamination," says Bowlus.

There's a theory about how it could've got there.

Bowlus says the spring-fed water reservoir was also fed from an unsealed tile that was covered with fill around 1959.    

Later Whirlpool built a basketball court on top.

Today you can see the four spots around the court where earlier this year the US EPA dug and discovered high levels of carcinogens in the soil nine feet deep.    

"It's sad to think that it could be contaminated," says Bowlus. "Even sadder to think that it could've impacted people health-wise. "

The testing is expected to take several months to complete.  Bowlus says the earliest they'll know results is March.

Whirlpool Corporation spokesperson Kristine Vernier released this statement: "The current land owner of the former Whirlpool park property signed an agreement with Whirlpool late last week. The agreement will allow Whirlpool onto the property to take the next steps in uncovering facts around this issue. We will move ahead with a site characterization this week as part of the Ohio EPA Voluntary Action Program conducted with oversight of the U.S. EPA. After a site visit, Whirlpool will submit a sampling work plan to EPA for its review and approval.  Following that, Whirlpool will expedite the next phase of testing and take the appropriate actions based on the results."

 

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