INFORMATIONAL MEETING Girard residents hear cons about landfill effort

The state is trying to establish a committee to study landfill issues.
GIRARD -- More than 100 Girard residents filled the city gymnasium for an informational meeting Thursday night as they try to block the attempt of a landfill that wants to locate off U.S. Route 422.
New Jersey resident Maria Balista described the damage that a landfill can do to a residential area. Balista told the crowd she and her family purchased a beautiful home in 1985.
They didn't know that they were living down the street from a landfill, Batista said, but they soon found out.
"Although the landfill was closed, it was smoldering and considered a red zone because water was contaminated," she said.
Members of Girard United Against Ruinous Dumping are hoping that stories such as Balista's will spark enough support from residents to block Total Waste Logistics from moving into town.
The company applied for a license from the city health department on June 9 to open up a construction and demolition debris (CDD) landfill on 19.9 acres off U.S. Route 422.
The application was filed weeks before a state moratorium went into effect July 1 to put a hold on all landfill applications for six months. The moratorium was to allow the state to put together a committee to make recommendations on landfill criteria within the state. The state Senate has named its choices for committee members but there has been no action from the House or from Gov. Bob Taft.
The Girard City Health Department is scheduled to vote on the application on Aug. 9. If it is denied, Total Waste Logistics can apply with Trumbull County.
If the application should fail on the county level, the next move Total Waste Logistics can take is to file with the state, which approves the applications a majority of the time., according to GUARD committee member Fran Wilson.
State Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood, D-65th, says she has introduced legislation that would enact stricter criteria for companies that want to open landfills.
Currently there are only two state requirements, Harwood said.
A landfill cannot be within a 100-year flood plain within a water source and cannot be on a sole source aquifer, which means the landfill cannot be near a water source.
Harwood said her bill would establish set back distances, which would draw the line as to how far a site must be from a schools, homes and businesses.
The bill would also require background checks and notification hearings.
"It's my home," Harwood said. "I grew up here and I am sick and tired of them trying to make it a dumping ground."
No date has been set for a vote on Harwood's bill.
In the meantime, GUARD will be going door to door circulating petitions after the Aug. 2 elections.

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