Debris pile to top off in year
The LAS landfill will be open another 43 years, if its application to expand is approved.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- It's the highest point in Girard.
"It" is a large mound of construction and demolition debris which has been slowly growing since the early 1990s at LAS Recycling Inc.
Motorists from Meridian Road near Interstate 80 can view large trucks snailing their way up and down the pile of rubble on Bundy Road.
James Dobson, assistant city health commissioner, said the pile will top out at 1,010 feet in about a year.
He said LAS will fill that 25 to 30 acres in that time, then plans to expand on its 138-acre facility.
Downtown Youngstown can be seen from atop the mound, which Dobson said he inspects once a month. Violations are noted and corrected.
"That mountain will be there for ever," Dobson said, noting that when it's capped, it will be covered with dirt and seeded.
LAS accepts building materials, especially from the East Coast.
Building the mound is permitted, Dobson said, saying that the debris doesn't take up space in a sanitary landfill that accepts solid waste such as garbage and trash.
Illegal dumping: LAS has been fined $10,000 by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for illegally dumping garbage. Landfills are licensed to accept only specified waste; LAS cannot take household trash.
As part of the settlement in the case, LAS was required to put a thicker layer of topsoil on the nine acres on which solid waste was found.
Kara Allison, EPA spokeswoman, said the height of a landfill is not based on vertical distance, but "slope stability."
"You can't make a landfill any higher than the base that will support it," Allison said, noting the slope is determined by engineering calculations.
She likened it to building a pyramid in which the height is determined by the size of the base.
Allison said there aren't any height restrictions for landfills, noting that when a landfill can no longer expand laterally, it has to close.
There is a risk, she said, that if the slope is exceeded, the refuse will slide similar to an avalanche.
Expansion proposal: Dobson said LAS has filed for a license to expand, estimating its larger facility will operate for 43 years with two more mounds -- 863 and 856 feet high.
The proposal seeks to add another 48-acre site, west of the present mound on which 38 acres will be used for the actual landfill.
The difference in acreage is because buffers will be left between mounds.
A great deal of work will have to be done before the new site can be used.
Dobson said LAS will have to dig down to the blue clay that serves as a bottom liner and clay will have to be moved in to areas were none exists.
A leachate collection system will be constructed, which wasn't required when LAS first opened.
Liquid that leaches through the mounds will go into storage tanks. It can be pumped to the top to keep dust down or into the county sanitary sewer system, Dobson said.
Dobson said no liquid has leached to the base of the mound because it's so tightly packed.