Environment

Climate change poses threat to coffee business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Climate change may increase the cost of your morning coffee. Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green with his wife, Laura, was quoted in a recent Business Forward report saying that climate change is “adversely affecting the long term outlook for coffee, putting additional burdens here at home and putting small farmers in potential financial peril in all the major growing regions worldwide.” Early this year, the Wicks family and a couple key employees traveled to the Siles Farm in Matagalpa, Nicaragua to get a first-hand look at how their main product is grown, and the challenges facing the  farmers, small business owners like the Wicks family, who provide it. Coffee growers, Wicks said, are battling “rust,” a pathogen that can have devastating effects on a coffee plantation. The disease thrives at warmer temperatures. Even a temperature increase of a couple degrees can promote the disease and that can reduce the crop dramatically. The Siles farm is large enough with several thousand acres, that the growers can, for now, combat the spread of the disease by moving production to higher elevations, where the trees are less susceptible. “They have some ability to combat the challenge from climate change,” Wicks said. Siles also has its own dairy herd. The whey is used to produce a material to help protect the trees from rust. The milk is given to their employees. “It’s small growers who have no option.”  While Siles produces thousands bags a year, a small farmer may produce 20-30 bags. “They can’t say we’re just going to go up the mountain,” he said. “And if their well runs dry, they’re out of luck.” While rust is a problem wherever coffee is grown, it is a particular issue in Central America. Should the region’s coffee crop be devastated, that would put a million people out of work, Wicks said. Coffee harvesting and processing is still a labor intensive process, Wicks said. “It’s labor intensive hands-on commodity.” The crew from Grounds got to experience that first hand, getting up before dawn to head out to…


After years of resistance, EPA says Lake Erie ‘impaired’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Since the green algae scare in 2014 that resulted in the Toledo area being warned to not drink the water, the Ohio EPA has insisted that Lake Erie would not benefit from being declared “impaired.” But this afternoon, the EPA released a report stating the lake’s status should be changed to “impaired.” The battle has been between the state – which didn’t want the region to suffer economically from being named “impaired” – and environmentalists, who said the lake would improve only if the source of the harmful algae is identified – and the farming community that didn’t want all the blame for the algae, and didn’t want more regulation of their practices. In Thursday’s announcement, the EPA is proposing the open waters of Lake Erie’s Western Basin be designated as impaired for recreation and drinking water. This includes the area of the lake from the Michigan-Ohio state line to the lighthouse in Marblehead. The shoreline areas of the western basin and drinking water intakes had already been designated as impaired. This first assessment of Lake Erie included input from Bowling Green State University, Ohio State University Sea Grant College Program, University of Toledo, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. EPA. The report identifies a science-based process for assessing impairment from harmful algae of the western basin open waters. “While designating the open waters of the Western Basin as impaired does not provide, as some suggest, a magic bullet to improve the lake, the state remains committed to our obligations under the Clean Water Act and to examine emerging science and practices that we can put in place to help improve it,” Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler stated in the report released today. The news was welcomed by area environmentalists, who have insisted for years that Lake Erie would only get worse if the sources of the harmful algae aren’t identified and limited. The “impaired” status will require such studies. While the farming community has made progress in self-monitoring and reducing phosphorus runoff that contributes to the algae, it hasn’t been…


Gamby a natural as BG’s first sustainability coordinator

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Amanda Gamby has been a tree-hugger and nature defender as long as she can remember. “This is pretty much who I am,” Gamby said as she sat in her office surrounded by recycling bins, giant plants, tree pictures, and hula hoops (we’ll get to that later.) “It’s always been where I’ve gravitated toward.” Soon Gamby will be leaving this office, as Wood County Solid Waste environmental educator, to fill the newly-created position of Bowling Green city sustainability coordinator. She starts the new job on April 2. When she takes over as sustainability coordinator, Gamby will be expected to be a “utility player,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. She will be educating the public about the city’s programs for trash, recycling and sustainability. She will explain new rules to the public, plus give tours of the county landfill and the recycling center. And she will work with the utilities department on stormwater management, and on educating the public about the new solar field and wind turbines. Gamby is quite comfortable being a “utility player,” since she has appreciated combining her love of nature and teaching in her position with the county over the last 12 years. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar has no doubt that she can handle the new job. “She’s really good with people,” especially with school-age children, he said. “She has a good way of communicating. She’s just a bubbly person.” That enthusiasm comes naturally, Gamby said. “I’m very personable with them, and I truly do care about each group who comes out” to environmental presentations, she said. As a child, Gamby always chose nature, recycling or litter collection for every Girl Scout, 4-H or school project. “We were always outside, as kids,” she said. She went on to get an environmental policy and analysis degree in college, and worked in education. So she already does double-duty as an environmentalist and educator. “It’s pretty awesome,” Gamby said with a grin. During her years with the county, Gamby worked hard to create a network and partnerships between like-minded agencies in…


Falcon lays an egg in courthouse tower

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At least one more falcon is getting ready to call Bowling Green home, as a new peregrine falcon egg has made its appearance on the Falcon Cam, www.bgsu.edu/falconcam. One egg so far is visible on the camera, which is provided by a partnership between the Wood County Commissioners and Bowling Green State University. Last year, four eggs were laid in the Wood County Courthouse tower. “Spring is on the way and our falcon family hanging around the Courthouse nesting box is a sure sign,” said Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator. “This is the eighth year we will be able to watch the falcons grow their family. We have had a few bird watchers with big scopes in our parking lots the past couple weeks, trying to get a good view.” The peregrine falcon is BGSU’s official mascot. A pair of the raptors took refuge in the clock tower — just two blocks west of campus — eight years ago. “It’s fitting that the peregrine falcons have formed a unique bond with the town and University,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer of BGSU. “We’re happy they have made a tradition of calling Bowling Green home.” Peregrine falcon eggs typically have a 33-day gestation period, so the eggs are expected to hatch in early April. For more information about the peregrine falcons in the courthouse clock tower, go to bgsu.edu/falconcam.


County Park District seeking comments on programs at open forums in March & April

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District welcomes the communities of Wood County to several Community & Parks Open Forums. The Park District is offering many new opportunities for nature and cultural education, and outdoor recreation. Many new features and amenities have been added and will continue to be added in the future to the twenty Nature Preserves and Parks managed by the Wood County Park District. The public is encouraged to visit these open forums to learn about what is new and upcoming, as well as, share opinions with the Park District. Public opinions will help shape the future of the parks. Wednesday, March 14; 5-7  p.m. N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore   Thursday, March 15; 7-9 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Saturday, March 24; 1-3 p.m. Wood County District Public Library Meeting room 251 N. Main Street, Bowling Green Thursday, March 29; 6-8 p.m. Way Public Library 101 E. Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg Saturday, April 14; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pemberville Public Library 375 E. Front Street, Pemberville Wednesday, April 18; 4-6 p.m. Weston Public Library – Grand Rapids Branch 17620 Bridge St, Grand Rapids, 43522 Thursday, April 19; 5-7 p.m. Walbridge Library 108 N Main St, Walbridge, OH 43465 Tuesday, April 24; 7-9 v Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Light refreshments, good information and great company will be provided. For more information, please visit www.wcparks.org.


County parks are busy places during March

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Native Bees and Bee Houses Wednesday, March 7; 6:30 – 8:30 pm J.C. Reuthinger Preserve 30370 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Suzanne Nelson and Dean Babcock will present on native bees and how to encourage them to visit your backyard. You will complete your own mason bee house with guidance from the program leaders. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Attendance at all sessions is required. Cost: $20; FWCP $15. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, March 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, essays by David Quammen. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897   CPR Certification at the Park Saturday, March 10; 8:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Get certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and AED use and learn choking relief. This American Heart Association course is taught by certified Park District staff. Participants must be 14 years of age. Registration deadline is March 3. Card certification cost: $20. Register at www.wcparks.org, or call (419) 353-1897 Community & Parks Open Forum Wednesday, March 14th  5:00 – 7:00 pm N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore Learn about the new and exciting opportunities with the Wood County Parks. Your input matters. Share your thoughts with us to help shape the future of the parks. Light refreshments and good company provided. Archery Skills: M-Archery Madness! Friday, March 16; 6:00 – 7:30 pm William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville Beginning archers build their skills in this fun and instructional program, where we’ll focus on body posture and aiming,…


Historic farm acreage could be site for wetlands project

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Settlers in the Great Black Swamp worked hard to drain the soil to make fields that would grow crops rather than flood. Now, a group dedicated to conservation may work hard to turn one field back into wetlands. Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy, presented a proposal on Tuesday to the Wood County Park District. The conservancy is a non-profit land trust with a goal of conserving primarily private and some public lands. Coulter’s proposal to the park district board was to set up a demonstration project on acreage at the Carter Historic Farm, located north of Bowling Green on Carter Road. “It’s a working farm that the public comes to,” she said. So the project could become an example of how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields. The preliminary proposal calls for a series of wetlands with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. If grant funding is received, a public meeting would then be held to explain the wetlands project, Coulter told the park board. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat, she added. The acreage being considered for the wetlands project would be on land currently being used as farmland. The existing wooded area near the field would not be touched and the existing drainage would not be changed. Working on the design of the demonstration project is Hull & Associates. The construction of a wetlands and buffer area would be quite expensive. The preliminary estimate is in the $400,000 range, Coulter said. That amount could be trimmed if the acreage was reduced, she said. Wood County Park District Executive Director Neil Munger said if the project proceeds past the design stage, grant funding would be sought for construction. Since the Toussaint Creek is in the Maumee “area of concern” for waterways and contamination of Lake Erie, the wetlands demonstration project may stand a better chance of receiving funding, Coulter said.


Science teachers enrich lesson plans with activities about Lake Erie algae blooms

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Area science teachers visited the Bowling Green State University campus early this month to learn how to integrate lessons ripped from the headlines into their lesson plans. The professional development sessions brought about a  dozen teachers to learn ways to teach intermediate and middle school students about issues surrounding algae blooms in Lake Erie. Doug Reynolds, who teaches fifth grade at Holland Elementary, said he was excited about having the professional development on “real world problems.” Like several other teachers in the class this was a return to his alma mater. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BGSU in 1997 and 2000 respectively. Karen Krontz has yet to earn her BGSU degree. She’s student teaching at Dorr Elementary in Springfield. “It’s so relatable to everyday life,” she said of the issue. During lessons students share stories about how they use water, and they’re aware of the consequences when something goes wrong. In 2014, toxic blooms made the water in Toledo and much of the surrounding area undrinkable. “They know about algae blooms. Some were affected a few years ago, so they’re very interested.” The workshop was taught by BGSU professor George Bullerjahn, one of the leading experts on algae blooms, with Mark Seals, director of the School of Teaching and Learning, and STEM educator and researcher Ken Newbury. The sessions, funded by a $60,000 Ohio Math Science Partnership grant awarded to BGSU, demonstrated simple hands-on activities that showed the dynamics of how algae blooms form and how they can be mitigated. That meant the teachers getting their hands dirty as they put dirt into trays on top of wire screening. The lesson is intended to show how buffer zones around fields can help keep the runoff rich with nutrients applied as fertilizer from flowing into the lake. Those nutrients nourish the plant life in the lake, just as they nourish plants on land. Conor Whelan teaches science to fifth and sixth graders at a school for the gifted in Sandusky. Surrounded by farm field, his students are well aware of the…


Past, present, & future live in the art of indigenous activist Dylan Miner

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In the language of the Metis one word refers both to ancestors and descendants. The word means both great-grandparents and great-grandchildren. For indigenous people the past, present, and future are not a continuum but ever present, said Dylan Miner, an artist, activist, scholar and educator from Michigan. “All are intimately connected in a being that is myself,” he said. And all that’s connected in the art he creates. Miner, who teaches at Michigan State, was the guest for the opening talk in the Homelands and Histories Speaker Series presented by the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at Bowling Green State University. He spoke Tuesday at the Wood County District Public Library. Miner’s art is deeply rooted both in the history of indigenous peoples and their current struggles, which are fought to secure the future. Miner is Metis on his father’s side. The Metis are a people that trace their ancestry back to the descendants of indigenous people and French and English fur traders. Miner’s people lived on Drummond Island until removed. The land of the Metis stretches from the Georgian Bay to through western Canada, straddling the border with the United States. The Metis language, Michif, is a mix of French nouns and Cree verbs and grammar. Miner introduced himself in Michif and then in Ojibway, which he learned from Ojibway elders living in Lansing. The first art work Miner discussed was a fire bag, called colloquially an “octopus bag,” which his grandfather’s grandmother had, and which still remains in his family. It was used to carry the herbs for medicine. Miner continues to use natural materials for some of his own art. In a piece celebrating Louis Riel, a Metis who led two insurrections against the fledgling Canadian government in the late-19th century, Miner altered archival photos by covering Riel’s image in birch bark. The legal systems that ended in the executions of Riel in Canada or 38 Dakota men in Minnesota in 1862, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, persist to this day, he said. It was around…


BG Council asked to encourage businesses to go ‘green’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A group of environmentally-conscious students would like to see Bowling Green businesses going more green. Members of the Environmental Action Group at Bowling Green State University approached City Council at its last meeting about encouraging local businesses to adopt environmentally-friendly policies. The organization has worked to lessen waste and increase sustainability on campus, and now would like to extend those efforts to more of the community. Julia Botz, a senior biology major, suggested such practices as: Green composting by restaurants. Recycling at Main Street businesses. Restricting the use of disposable plastic foam. Adding more electric car charging stations. Businesses could be encouraged to participate with the awarding of a “Green Bowling Green Business” designation to those that make efforts to help the environment, Botz suggested. Council President Mike Aspacher thanked Botz for making her presentation. “I appreciate your efforts,” he said. Aspacher suggested that members of the BGSU Environmental Action Group meet with Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter to discuss ways the city can assist with the organization’s efforts. Mayor Dick Edwards complimented the student organization for the changes that are being put into place at BGSU. “You’re really accomplishing some amazing things on campus,” Edwards said. “Pretty amazing.” The mayor asked the students to bring a report to City Council of the successful programs on campus, so city officials and the general public can be made aware. On a related matter, the city recently created the new position of “sustainability coordinator” and is in the process of hiring a person to fill that spot. That position was established to help the city develop sustainability programs and work on public outreach on items like refuse/recycling, solid waste diversion and reduction, storm water management and assist with an urban forestry program. “It has become evident that the city needs a position like this to educate, inform and work with residents on the services provided and responsibilities of residents when it comes to refuse and recycling,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said.


Hull Prairie ditch cleaning supported – but cost details sought

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Landowners along Hull Prairie Road are in favor of the county cleaning out the ditch that runs along the road. But they have one big concern – how much will it cost them. The Wood County Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday morning on the Hull Prairie ditch project, which covers 11.6 miles in Bowling Green, Plain Township, Middleton Township and Perrysburg Township. The project extends from south of Newton Road to north of Roachton Road. For years, clogged ditches along Hull Prairie Road only affected neighboring farmland. But now, with so many homes and housing subdivisions growing along the road, ditch drainage is necessary to keep water from creeping into basements. The estimated cost for the project is $422,000, according to Wood County Engineer John Musteric. The watershed area covers 6,749 acres, with 1,378 parcels. A preliminary cost per acre would be $62.53. However, no surveys have yet been conducted, Musteric said. Several neighbors of the ditch project attended Tuesday’s hearing to voice their support for the ditch cleaning. Carl Barnard said several of his neighbors get water in their basements with heavy rainfalls. One neighbor recently had $6,000 in damage due to flooding. “This is very critical to us,” Barnard said. Musteric agreed that the project should proceed. “Prolonging implementation now will do nothing but exacerbate drainage issues later,” he said. Better drainage will not only result in better farm yields, but also help the residential areas, Musteric said. Unless the ditch is placed under the county maintenance program, the responsibility to keep it clean is on the townships and landowners. The benefits of the project are greater than the costs, Musteric said. But the landowners would really like some more specifics on exactly what those costs might be for them individually. “This is all well and good. But the bottom line is the cost,” Joe McIntyre, of Cogan Lane, said. Until the survey is done, those costs are unknown, Musteric said. “Everybody is very curious about the costs,” said Robert Ashenfelter, of Lake Meadows Drive. The flooding problems are…


Kids’ Tech infects students with a love of science

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maybe it takes something creepy like a parasite that controls its host to hook children on science. That’s what Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, of Rice University, hopes when she presents “When Sci-Fi Comes to Life: Parasites that Control Host Behavior” at Kids’ Tech University @BGSU. The program for children, 9-12, will be presented at Bowling Green State University in four Saturday sessions, starting Feb. 3 and continuing through March 24, when Weinersmith will present. This is a way, she said, to show “students there’s all kinds of crazy stuff in nature, mind blowing stuff, and you can spend a lifetime asking interesting questions and let them know how much fun it is to be a scientist.” Kids’ Tech is open to 150 students. The cost is $90. For more information visit http://kidstechuniversity-bgsu.vbi.vt.edu/ “We want the children to feel that the study of science is something that they should consider, and that they can be comfortable in a university environment,” said Dr. Paul Morris, who adopted the program from one developed at Virginia Tech. The daylong sessions begin with presentations by the guest scientists in the morning. In the afternoon, the students assisted by BGSU graduate and undergraduate students participate in hands-on, activities that relate to the morning presentation. Working with the university students in the campus labs and classrooms gives them a feel for life as a university science student, Morris said. “We are able to provide them with a true university experience, by directly introducing them to distinguished scientists that they can relate to talking about their work. … The speakers in our program, are chosen for their ability to reach this audience, and their effectiveness is seen in the sea of hands that are raised during their morning presentations.” Weinersmith, who has her bachelor and master degrees from BGSU, said that talking about parasites with elements that could come from a science fiction film helps engage the students. “It gets them excited and interested in how the brain and immune system can help influence behavior.” Weinersmith said a workshop in forensics science at…


Park district to maintain solar sanctuary for birds, bees and butterflies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District has agreed to play a role in a local sanctuary for butterflies, bees and birds. The park board voted unanimously Tuesday to maintain the 13.4-acre “solar sanctuary” planned around the solar field near the corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of Bowling Green. The project fits nicely into the mission of the park district, according to Neil Munger, executive director of the district. In exchange for maintaining the site, the park district can use the wildflower sanctuary as an educational tool. “It’s been an ongoing issue around the country – the loss of pollinator habitat,” Munger said. The city of Bowling Green is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to develop a wildlife and pollinator habitat around the new 165-acre solar field. One goal of the wildlife habitat area is to bring back pollinators to the region. Adult Monarch butterflies have seen a 50 percent drop in the last 10 years due to disappearing milkweed plants  – which are the only plants used by Monarchs for laying eggs. Some wildflower habitats target specific species. The one at Bowling Green’s solar site will be aimed at attracting several species of bees, birds and butterflies. The plan calls for three seasons of blooming plants. The wild habitat area, which will be planted outside the fenced-in solar array, is intended to benefit various pollinators, crops, soil quality, water quality, foraging birds and Monarchs. Ohio is a priority location for Monarchs on their annual trek to Mexico. This region also has many crops that are suffering from inadequate pollination. Crops relying on pollination include tomatoes, blueberries, melons, soybeans, peppers, peaches, cucumbers, squash and apples. Honey bees account for more than $15 billion in agricultural production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Water and soil quality are also helped by the wildflower habitats because the native plants have deeper root systems and add nitrogen to the soil. The plants also attract insects, which are a food staple for many birds, and provide bird nesting areas in tall grasses. The wildlife…


After 10 years, Portage River cleanup to start soon

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The wait is nearly over for citizens who petitioned 10 years ago for a big portion of the Portage River to be cleaned out. On Thursday, the petitioners got two bits of good news. First, the county commissioners from Wood, Hancock and Seneca counties accepted a bid for the project. And second, that bid was $284,273 lower than expected. So after a decade of waiting, the Portage River project will likely get started in January. Four bids were received, with the lowest bid of $374,641 from H&H Land Clearing of Middlefield, Ohio, being accepted by the county commissioners. The highest bid came in at $547,782. Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson vouched for the H&H company, which has done work on the Blanchard River. The firm did a “fantastic job” and was “on task and on time,” Robertson said. The Portage River project is the biggest river cleanup undertaken in Wood County in terms of area, according to Wood County Engineer John Musteric. It follows 46 miles of the south and east branches of the Portage River, covering 111 square miles of watershed in Wood, Hancock and Seneca counties, affecting about 8,200 parcels of land. While the size of the project is great, the scope is not. There will be no digging, no widening, no channelizing. The river branches will be allowed to keep their meandering paths. The work will only remove logjams and trees leaning into the river. The cleanup of the Portage River branches is intended to reduce future flooding for properties along that stretch. Duane Abke, with the county engineer’s office, said the cleanup project may start as early as January. “Weather permitting, they like to do it when the land is frozen,” he said on Thursday. The Wood County Engineer’s Office plans to notify landowners right along the river as the project progresses to their properties. “Before the contractor shows up on their door step,” Abke said. The cleanup is expected to be completed by Aug. 1, 2019. The cost of the project will be divided among the landowners…


Cleanup of contamination left at Cooper set at $1.2M

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The cost to clean up contamination left behind on a Bowling Green industrial site is expected to hit more than $1.2 million. The Ohio EPA held a public hearing Wednesday evening to explain the cleanup proposal and take citizen comments about the plan for the Cooper Standard Automotive property at 1175 N. Main St. An investigation of the site found an area contaminated by Trichloroethylene (TCE), a common industrial solvent. “TCE was formerly used in industry as a cleaning agent,” Ghassan Tafla, from the Ohio EPA Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization, explained during the public hearing. “It worked magically on auto parts to clean the grease,” Tafla said. However, later TCE was found to pose a threat to the environment and public health. It is now only used in lesser amounts by the defense department. The local contamination is believed to have occurred before Cooper Standard Automotive or Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. owned the site, since neither of those operations used TCE. Cooper Standard Automotive purchased the 25-acre site from Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. in 2004. The property had been used by Cooper Tire to manufacture rubber hoses and seals for the automotive industry. The previous owner of the site from 1964 to 1977 – Gulf & Weston – reportedly used TCE in its manufacturing of truck bodies, refuse packers and associated parts. That original company on the site is expected to be responsible for the cleanup, according to an EPA official. Gulf & Weston reportedly has insurance to cover such contamination and had made an agreement with Cooper Tire. The TCE contamination was discovered in 1986 during the removal of underground storage tanks that held xylene, which was also used to degrease equipment. The contamination has been identified in the area west of the plant building, in the area of a former above ground tank which contained TCE. The Cooper Standard Automotive plant currently employs about 370 people. Those employees are not at risk from the contamination, according to the EPA. The indoor air monitoring results showed below…