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In 1929, the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corporation built a facility for manufacturing its enormous lighter-than-air ships, including the famous Goodyear Blimp. Known as the Airdock, the building — which is larger than seven football fields — is located at 1210 Massillon Road in Akron, Ohio.
Lockheed Martin assumed ownership of the local landmark in 1997, when it acquired portions of Loral Corporation, which had owned the building since purchasing assets of Goodyear Aerospace Corporation in 1987.
The Summit County Port Authority assumed ownership of the Airdock in 2006, and it leases the building to Lockheed Martin. The Corporation employs about 650 people at its Akron facility.
The Airdock was constructed using material coated with a fire retardant substance that contained polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), including the compound known as Aroclor 1268. Over the years, some of the Airdock’s roofing and siding material eroded, and dust particles fell to the ground.
Rainwater carried the particles into the local storm drainage system, and they traveled through the pipes underground, surfacing again in Haley’s Ditch — a drainage ditch that begins several thousand feet north of the Airdock and extends through private, industrial and municipal properties before reaching the Little Cuyahoga River.
After PCBs were detected at the Airdock in 2003, Lockheed Martin worked closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate the extent of the contamination and to clean up the Airdock and the surrounding pavement, soils and storm drain system. That cleanup has been completed.
Working with the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA, Lockheed Martin also assessed the extent of the contamination in the soil and sediment in the 1,800-foot stretch of Haley’s Ditch. Between 2005 and 2008, Lockheed Martin collected more than 500 soil and sediment samples from 150 locations in and adjacent to Haley’s Ditch.
Based on the results, the Corporation developed a cleanup plan and submitted the proposed plan to the U.S. EPA in January 2009. Lockheed Martin’s objective for the cleanup is to remove PCB-contaminated soil and sediment to achieve a level that will not pose a risk to people’s health or to the environment.
The proposed cleanup plan calls for the removal and off-site disposal of soft sediment as well as soil that contains PCB concentrations greater than an EPA actionable level. Contaminated soil removed from excavated areas would be replaced with cleaner soil. The plan also calls for restoring the excavated areas after the cleanup is completed.
Lockheed Martin has reduced the risk of future contamination by installing a rubber membrane over the roof of the Airdock, replacing siding on the building, replacing rain gutters, and installing filters over storm drain surface openings.