EAST CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Eight months and more than $8.8 million later, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced workers have finished removing the final pieces of illegally dumped trash from ARCO Recycling, Inc.
The Noble Road site has been a problem in East Cleveland for years. People who live nearby the illegal dump site complained about loud noises, dust, smells and unsightly piles. Many people also worried about their health.
"The EPA. They've been out here 27 times. They knew this was a dump. But did they stop it? No. They didn't stop it," said an East Cleveland resident.
In October, the site caught fire. Smoke billowed from the illegally dumped debris for days. Some parts of trash were stacked four stories high.
"They always have told us this was a terrible fire hazard and one day it could burn these houses down," said an East Cleveland resident.
Cleveland 19 News reporter Paul Orlousky broke the story and worked to get answers for more than two years.
Despite the fire, smoke and smells, the Ohio EPA told residents the site was harmless to their health.
In July 2017, the the agency began the first steps to clean up the plant. It also sued the owners and said ARCO Recycling took in millions of pounds of trash and charged tipping fees to haulers, but left without recycling the stuff.
"There should be a bill created for Noble Road that nothing like this will ever happen to any city in America," said an East Cleveland resident.
Tuesday, eight months after trash pickup began, homeowners can feel a bit more at ease as contractors wrap up cleaning at the once unsightly dump site.
The Ohio EPA said it will work to recover the costs to clean up the site from the parties responsible. The agency plans to talk with the community and elected officials about future options for the site.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has a section of its website devoted to the site's cleanup.