A Warren township trustee said she remains skeptical of landfill operators.
WARREN -- The plan that operators of Warren Hills landfill and the state are trying to agree on would set a final closing date for Dec. 31, 2008.
In the interim, the landfill off Martin Luther King Avenue Southwest would be able to generate enough revenue and enough fill material to close in an orderly manner, said Steven D. Bell, the Cleveland lawyer representing Warren Recycling Inc. and Warren Hills LLC.
Issues to be agreed upon include what to do about odor and leachate at the site, dust control, and what materials can and will be brought there as operations continue.
"The hope is that we'll reach an agreement on improvements the state says need to be made at the landfill," he said.
Landfill operators are talking with the state attorney general on a new consent agreement that "involves a commitment on the part of the landfill to close four years hence" Dec. 31, 2008, Bell explained.
The parties are working with a mediator affiliated with Judge John Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Once those terms are in place, the companies will seek a 2005 license from the Warren Health Department to operate a construction and demolition debris landfill. Its application to the health board was withdrawn last week and for now the landfill is idled.
Continuing to operate over the next four years, however, would bring in enough revenue and material to close and to accomplish what the Environmental Protection Agency wants, Bell explained.
Kay Anderson, a Warren Township trustee who lives on Burnett Road -- near enough to smell the landfill at times -- said she remains skeptical.
"I've heard that story for a couple of years, so I don't know. I wish I could believe it," she said.
She noted that landfill operators had a consent agreement signed with the Ohio EPA to address the problems "and they didn't step up and do it. You can understand that we don't have any trust that any of these people are going to do anything differently."
Bell explained the state filed a lawsuit two years ago against the landfill. That suit remains unresolved. The state in December 2002 told the city health board not to grant a 2003 operating license because the landfill did not substantially comply with Ohio law on construction and demolition debris landfills.
The city disregarded that view and, in what Bell called a controversial move, issued a 2003 license. That decision was appealed by the state and Warren Township, he said.
The case was settled in 2003, and the state did not object to the 2004 license. However, contempt charges were filed in early 2004, finding the landfill not in substantial compliance.
To keep this scenario from happening again, the landfill withdrew its 2005 application. It's winter now, and not much comes in to the site until warmer weather, Bell noted.
"When we get an agreement with the state we'll go through with the application for a new license," Bell said. He said he hoped an agreement would be reached soon.
Last Wednesday, a petition signed by 40 people was given to Mayor Michael O'Brien, formally complaining about odor and dumping.
Anderson said she's banking on the U.S. EPA eventually coming in and resolving the issues. She said she hopes it does so by summer, so the residents can enjoy the outdoor weather.