Committee: Add regional center

One member argued that an MRF could be in place by year's end.
AUSTINTOWN -- Frustrated by restrictions of the Mahoning County Solid Waste Management Plan, members of the county's Materials Recovery Facility Committee want to know if it is possible to amend the plan.
The committee must work under the guidelines of the county's solid waste management plan. Members want to amend the plan, if possible, to include a regional recycling center known as a materials recovery recycling facility, or MRF.
The committee is continuing discussion of possible Mahoning County sites for an MRF and would like to see an MRF operating as soon as possible.
The MRF committee met Thursday with just three of its seven members present.
Member Anna DeAscentis said because there is no mention of any new construction or specifically any mention of an MRF in the current solid waste management plan, a publicly funded MRF cannot be put in place in the county while the current solid waste management plan is in effect.
She said any public recycling facility must be part of a solid waste plan approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Any committee planning must follow the guidelines of the solid waste management plan.
Part of five-year plan
She suggested exploring the possibility of amending the plan to include an MRF now. James Petuch, director of the county's reuse and recycling division, has said the MRF will be included in the county's updated five-year solid waste plan. However, that updated plan must be approved by the state EPA and won't go into effect until 2007.
Member Mark Cleland said that an MRF could be operational in the county by year's end. Potential sites that have been discussed are those along vacant steel mill property that runs between Youngstown and Lowellville. The committee did not want to mention any specific sites, however, because property owners have not been contacted.
Cleland said the county needs the MRF operational because it will create jobs and significantly reduce the amount of solid waste going into landfills.
Cleland said he toured MRFs in other counties. He said now is the time for an MRF because prices are good for recyclable material.

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