TRUMBULL COUNTY Landfill's future remains uncertain
The city health board is the license issuer.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- It's up to the city health board and the operators of a controversial Martin Luther King Avenue landfill to determine the status of the facility's operating license.
Last month, Anthony DiCenso III, a spokesman for Warren Recycling Inc., told members of the city health board that WRI had purchased Warren Hills LLC, the company that had been operating the landfill, and that WRI was planning to accept minimal amounts of waste to pay bills.
Board members then questioned the effect on the operating license for the landfill that had been issued to Warren Hills.
"In terms of determining the status of the license, that's up to the operators and the city health board," said Mike Settles, a spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The city health board is the issuer of the license.
Residents near the landfill have complained for years of a rotten-egg hydrogen sulfide odor that state and federal agencies have said is emanating from the landfill.
A WRI attorney has said that the license is one of the assets of Warren Hills, and that WRI purchased all of the assets of Warren Hills.
Settles said the Ohio Attorney General's office has requested written documentation of the sale from the companies. The state is concerned about how the sale affects the consent agreement reached last year.
The state agencies and the companies reached a consent agreement last year stemming in part from charges that the landfill accepted solid waste in the late 1990s in violation of its permit. WRI is a construction and demolition debris landfill and cannot accept other waste material.
The agreement calls for the companies to pump leachate from the landfill site and conduct air, groundwater and gas monitoring among its requirements.
A hearing in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court is set for November after the attorney general's office asked that the companies be found in contempt of court for not complying with all of the requirements by the deadlines outlined.
WRI owns the landfill but Warren Hills had leased and operated the facility.
The facility stopped accepting waste in June when the OEPA recommended it stop accepting waste that couldn't be identified from railcars.
The companies presented a proposal to the state earlier this year to close the facility in four years and to post a bond. That proposal also included a provision that the landfill be allowed to accept 4,000 tons of waste per day so it could generate revenue. Its permit allows 1,500 tons per day. The state rejected that proposal.
In July, health board members sent a list of questions regarding the landfill to Dan Harris, chief of OEPA's division of solid and infectious waste management.
One of the questions was whether the $715,000 financial bond is adequate for closure and care of the landfill.
In a letter dated Aug. 3, Harris said the bond was established to assure final closure of the facility in accordance with the law.
"The final closure cost estimate is part of the licensing authority's license review and is required to be calculated in accordance" with the law, Harris's letter says.
Robert Pinti, deputy health commissioner, questions why if the estimate is part of the health board's license review, the city didn't participate in the negotiations to reach that amount.
"In my opinion, I don't believe that $715,000 is adequate to properly close the site," he said. "I feel that's an extremely inadequate amount."