Three township residents have complained about a rotting smell.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LORDSTOWN -- The Trumbull County Board of Health has asked the state attorney general's office to clamp down on what it says is an illegal waste transfer operation in Lordstown.
For the last 21/2 years, miles-long trains from eastern seaboard states have unloaded debris at a transfer station leased by CSX off tracks near state Route 45. The material -- exactly what it is is a subject of dispute -- is piled on the ground, then put into trucks bound for landfills in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Railroad company representatives say they are moving construction and demolition debris, which is not regulated by the health department, said Jason Earnhart, the assistant county prosecutor who represents the department.
But the health department believes there is regular garbage mixed in.
What's in there
"There's tires, household waste, food scraps, empty orange juice containers, magazines, furniture, lots of paper," said Frank Migliozzi, the department's director of environmental health.
He said that inspectors regularly check the loads, which come in on a daily basis.
Since the weather broke, there have been complaints from three Newton Township residents who live near sidings where trains wait to unload.
They say it's the smell of rotting food," Migliozzi said.
During negotiations beginning in January, representatives for companies involved said the debris meets health standards in the states where it originates, Earnhart said.
Township Trustee George Prelac and Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill both said no one has complained about the situation to them.
"We want to have the problem resolved before it becomes an issue," Hill said.
Operators of the site are accused of running a transfer station without a license, and also creating a nuisance by piling garbage on the ground, where it could attract rats or leach into the ground water, Migliozzi said.
Possible parties to a lawsuit would include owners of the transfer station, CSX, trucking companies, landfill operators and companies that are loading train cars in New York and other states, Earnhart said.
The attorney general will provide the expertise to deal with what will likely be a complex case, he said. The attorney general can also make sure the companies don't just sidestep problems in Trumbull County by moving the transfer station farther down the line, Earnhart said.
"We want to abate the problem for all northeast Ohio, and not just Trumbull County, and to accomplish that we need the attorney general to assist."