Mayor fears loss of trash station
Driving city garbage trucks to a Poland landfill would be costly, the mayor says.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- If the city health board decides not to grant a 2006 license for the Warren Recycling Inc. transfer station, the city would most likely truck its garbage directly to a Poland landfill, Mayor Michael O'Brien said.
The additional combined cost to the city of overtime, fuel and vehicle maintenance would be $25,000 to $30,000 a year -- or more -- if city trucks were to haul garbage to Browning-Ferris Industries' Carbon Limestone Landfill in Poland, the mayor said.
That landfill, located on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, would be the closest available alternative to Warren Recycling Inc., the mayor said.
The mayor said, however, that the city would have to seek various garbage disposal proposals and enter into a contract.
Under the present arrangement, city employees collect household garbage in city-owned trucks and drop it off at the Warren Recycling transfer station, where recyclable items are removed and the remaining garbage is loaded on larger trucks and taken to BFI's Poland landfill.
Daniel Harris, chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's division of solid and infectious waste management, has urged the city health board not to renew the transfer station license unless WRI enters into "a satisfactory consent agreement" with the Ohio EPA before Dec. 31.
Harris sent a letter this month to Dr. James A. Lazor, city health commissioner. Harris wrote that the Ohio Attorney General's Office filed contempt charges against WRI on March 11, 2004, in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court because WRI didn't comply with a consent order.
That July 1, 2003, deal involved Warren Hills, the company that managed Warren Recycling Inc.; OEPA; and the attorney general. The company since 1999 had accepted industrial solid waste at the facility, which is licensed to take construction and demolition waste only. Warren Recycling agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty for violations and creating a nuisance or health hazard. Cleanup work at the landfill is now being done by the U.S. EPA.
Will be discussed
Robert Pinti, deputy city health commissioner, said he thinks the city health board will discuss the transfer station license at its 3 p.m. Wednesday meeting, but he doesn't expect it to vote on the matter that day. The vote could come anytime between October and December, he said.
Pinti said he'd like an Ohio EPA representative to come before the board and more fully explain the EPA's position. As far as he knows, Pinti said, government agency complaints against WRI pertain to the Warren Hills landfill, and no complaints are outstanding concerning the transfer station.
The mayor, who presides over city health board meetings, said state lawmakers are now considering new legislation concerning transfer stations and landfills. "Their decision may impact our decision," the mayor said.
"What we're looking at is to see if the changes in the law impact how we operate our sanitation department," O'Brien said. "If there are changes in the law and the Ohio EPA stance is not to renew the license, then we would have to look at all alternatives," the mayor said.
The mayor said the city isn't in a position to establish its own transfer station in the near future. He also said that, despite escalating costs, he is not considering outsourcing garbage collection to a private company.
The mayor said he isn't making any recommendation to the health board now as to whether it should renew WRI's transfer station license.