HERMITAGE, PA. Landfill's owner wants city to take it

Some city officials say it's not an offer Hermitage should accept.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- The owner of River Road Landfill is trying to give the property to the city.
City Manager Gary Hinkson said Waste Management of Pennsylvania contacted him recently and asked to speak to city officials about the disposition of the property.
The landfill was closed in 1986 and Waste Management is responsible for monitoring the 102-acre site for any possible contamination.
Hinkson said a Waste Management representative told him the company has given other closed landfills away to local governments and nonprofit groups for various uses and wants to talk to Hermitage about a similar offer with River Road.
The representative offered no specifics, he said.
Several city commissioners don't think much of the idea.
"I say no," said Commissioner Joseph Augustine, who still deals with the landfill as chairman of the Upper Shenango Valley Water Pollution Control Authority.
Leachate seeping out of the landfill goes into the authority's sanitary sewer line and then to the Sharon sewage treatment, Augustine said.
Taking ownership could leave the city facing the $20,000 annual bill for that service, he warned.
Waste Management has to take care of the landfill, added Commissioner Pat White, one of those who fought to get the landfill closed. The company also pays taxes on the site, something the city would lose if it took ownership, he said.
Augustine said Waste Management has been trying to persuade the state Department of Environmental Protection to allow the company to discharge the leachate directly into the Shenango River, but the state has refused.
Commissioner Sylvia Stull agrees with Augustine's position but said the commission should hear what the company has to say.
Inviting them to speak
Hinkson said he would invite Waste Management representatives to a future board work session.
The site became a landfill in 1962, and a number of local factories and others dumped waste material there.
Waste Management bought it in 1980, and a federal EPA study of the site in 1985 turned up various contaminants, including polychlorinated biphenyls, lead and arsenic.
The landfill was put on the Superfund list as a contaminated site in 1989, three years after the waste shipments there stopped.
Waste Management formally closed and capped it in 1987 but must monitor it for at least 30 years.
If there are no problems during that period, the EPA said, the next step will be to get the landfill removed from the Superfund list.

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