Construction of a new Williamstown Elementary School at the site of the Fenton Art Glass factory is underway and the Wood County Board of Education has approved a plan for the remediation of the property to remove toxic chemicals left behind from more than 100 years of decorative glassmaking. However, several individuals have contacted the River City News Network with concerns that the planned remediation may not be enough to preserve the health of future students at that site.
Sources including state and federal environmental reports reveal that the manufacturing process resulted in the dumping of significant amounts of lead and several heavy metals on the property. Local media has taken to calling the material “unfired cullet”. The raw batch glass materials include sand, soda ash, lime and coloring agents. The coloring agents used at Fenton include antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, nickel, selenium, and zinc. These heavy metals were used in powder form and prior to modern environmental requirements and recycling endeavors were dumped onsite. The Fenton company also had a permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to use depleted uranium oxide in the coloring process. (Depleted uranium is less radioactive but not less toxic.)
Experts say remediation is possible by removing all of the contaminated material and the ground around it. But the current plan is raising concerns because the intent is to remediate only three areas at the site.
Editor’s Note: RCNN has requested information about the project through the proper channels and will be seeking answers about the contamination found at the site. Because of its longstanding presence as a major attraction and employer in the community, many individuals also have information about the property and the handling of materials there. Anyone with information or concerns about the project is invited to contact me here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.