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Behr Dayton Thermal Systems VOC Plume Site

Site Information
Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Virginia Narsete (narsete.virginia@epa.gov)
312-886-4359 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64359

Remedial Project Manager

Erik Hardin
312-886-2402 or 800-621-8431, Ext. 62402

On-Scene Coordinator
Steve Renninger

Ohio EPA
Site Coordinator

George Strobel
Ohio EPA Southwest District Office

Ohio Department of Health
Chief, Health Assessment Section
Bob Frey


(where to view written records)

E.C. Doren Branch Library
701 Troy St.
Dayton, OH


The Behr-Dayton Thermal Products LLC plant at 1600 Webster St., Dayton, Ohio, makes vehicle air conditioning and engine-cooling systems. Chrysler Corp. owned and operated this facility from about 1937 until April 2002. Groundwater beneath the plant is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, including the solvent trichloroethene, or TCE. The polluted groundwater has moved to the south-southwest, underneath homes and businesses. That creates a risk of vapor intrusion, in which gases from the VOCs rise up through the ground into buildings, creating indoor air pollution.

Ohio EPA installed seven devices called soil gas probes on Oct. 16, 2006, along Daniel Street, Lamar Street and Milburn Avenue to find out if vapor intrusion was happening. Technicians set the probes about one to two feet above the groundwater, which is approximately 20 feet below the surface. Ohio EPA found these soil gas samples contained high concentrations of TCE.

The state agency formally asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 6, 2006, to investigate the possibility of TCE vapors seeping into nearby homes and other buildings. Experts from the Emergency Response Branch of the Superfund Division in U.S. EPA's Chicago regional office tested homes immediately south of the Behr-Dayton plant. Results of those tests showed TCE vapor levels in some homes higher than what the Ohio Department of Health and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry consider safe.

As a result, U.S. EPA tested 276 homes in the McCook Field neighborhood for potentially hazardous vapors, and installed systems (similar to those used for radon) in 148 residences to remove the vapors.

On Sept. 3, 2008, U.S. EPA formally proposed that The Behr-Dayton Thermal Systems VOC Plume Site be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL), a list of the nation's most polluted sites.

Site Updates | News Releases | Fact Sheets || Public Meetings || Legal Documents

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Site Updates

July 2014

The U.S. EPA has been working with the community on the first draft of a Community Involvement Plan, which helps improve and guide communication between the Agency and people who live and work near the site, including public officials. U.S. EPA experts have attended a number of neighborhood meetings. They spoke to the McCook Neighborhood, Old North Dayton Business Owners Association and the BVOCAL community group. They also had an opportunity to speak with the growing Turkish community through a translator from the Kizer school. Open communications, building trust, listening to concerns and being visible in the community are priorities for U.S. EPA.

U.S. EPA tried to make those responsible for the contamination handle the cleanup, but was unable to do so. The Agency began its own investigation through a contractor in late 2009. Study of the site began in the summer of 2010 and continues today. U.S. EPA contractors investigated several facilities in September and November of 2010, trying to identify the source of the contamination. Technicians did extensive sampling and analysis of groundwater in late 2011, and again in the summer of 2012 and spring of 2014 – the most extensive testing so far. The Agency expects sampling to continue into the fall of this year to fill in any gaps in its understanding of the location and amount of pollution associated with the site. Cleanup work should begin in 2015.

U.S. EPA is reviewing the second draft of a technical report the site owners have prepared regarding an area of particularly high pollution levels in the groundwater below the southern edge of the Behr-Dayton facility.

To date, about 250 residences and businesses have been equipped with systems that prevent underground vapors from getting into the indoor air. Through its contractor, AECOM, Behr-Dayton monitors existing systems, tests additional residences and business for vapors, and installs new systems when needed. Very few vapor reduction systems have been installed over the last several years, and EPA believes most affected homes and businesses have been identified and tested. However, if you are concerned that your house may need testing, or you are concerned with the operation of an existing vapor reduction system, contact Erik Hardin at hardin.erik@epa.gov or 312-886-2402.

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