HERMITAGE, PA. Owner hopes city will use landfill site

City officials remain skeptical of the offer, citing concerns over long-term liability.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Representatives of Waste Management of Pennsylvania have some renderings of what the closed River Road Landfill might look like as a recreation facility.
They brought those drawings to a meeting with city commissioners Thursday in an attempt to get the city interested in taking ownership of the site, said Gary Hinkson, city manager.
River Road was shut down and capped in 1986, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency put it on the Superfund list as a contaminated site in 1989 after tests turned up various contaminants in the landfill, including polychlorinated biphenyls, lead and arsenic.
Hinkson said Waste Management, owner of the site, contacted the city in July, suggesting the city might want to take over the 104 acres and develop them for recreational use. Only 40 acres of the site were land-filled.
City commissioners were skeptical of the idea but agreed to hear what the company had to say.
Hinkson said the company provided evidence that shows there are no contaminants leaking from the landfill. Leachate material collected from the site is pumped into the Upper Shenango Valley Water Pollution Control Authority sewer and sent to the Sharon sewer plant for treatment.
The company also brought renderings of what the site might look like with a ball field and hiking trails on it, Hinkson said.
Commissioners remain skeptical, he said, especially Commissioner Pat White, who was a strong opponent of the landfill when it was in operation.
They are concerned about long-term liability should some contaminants begin leaking out of the landfill, Hinkson said.
Waste Management has assured the city that it will always bear the responsibility for any cleanup operations at the site and the company has indicated it could be a financial partner in helping the city develop it for recreational use, Hinkson said.
The company also provided the city with a list of other landfills that have been given to municipalities and nonprofit groups around the country for recreational sites, he said.
Waste Management says it will be three to five years before the site is ready to be given to anyone and the company is working to get the landfill off the federal Superfund list, Hinkson said.
When the landfill was capped, the EPA said it would have to be monitored for at least 30 years and, if no problems develop, it could then be removed from the list.

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