Fenton Property Remediation Raises Concerns

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 lyons.callie@gmail.com.  Thank you.

About Callie J Lyons

Callie Lyons is an investigative journalist and author living in the Mid Ohio Valley. Her first book, Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, is available at Amazon.com and in hundreds of libraries all over the world. Known as a "warrior for public health", Lyons' environmental investigations have been featured in documentaries, including Good Neighbors - Bad Blood and Toxic Soup, on Swedish National Television and in numbers of television, radio and print media interviews. Her work has appeared on Nova's Whiz Kids and in Mother Jones magazine. More recently, a national audience has come to know her award-winning investigative work through the Environmental Working Group and interviews with leading publications like the Huffington Post and The Intercept. Lyons' work was featured in the 2017 documentary Parched:Toxic Waters by National Geographic. The Short, Fantastic Life of a Saloon Girl is Lyons' first published work of historical fiction.
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