Despite residents' protests, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has granted a level two isolated wetlands permit to Total Waste Logistics in Negley.
The permit, which the company received Tuesday, allows it to utilize about 1.7 acres of isolated wetlands on the property and will help the company in its effort to expand its construction debris landfill.
TWL is attempting to expand the total area of the construction and demolition debris landfill, but in order to start the expansion, the company must receive a modification of license, which is pending with the Ohio EPA. The company also may need an air permit modification, which is in draft form, before the state will allow the expansion.
Ohio EPA Media Relations Coordinator Mike Settles explained the purpose of the wetlands permit is to make sure the company preserves or creates wetlands elsewhere on the property.
As part of the permit agreement, the company will have to create about 2.2 acres of non-forested wetlands on the southern edge of the property, including at least 1.89 acres of non-forested, category two wetlands.
Category two wetlands are medium-quality wetlands at the middle of the state's quality scale, Settles explained.
Although the granting of the wetlands permit is a step forward for the company's intentions and a step backward for residents opposing the expansion, this is not a done deal.
Last July, about 100 Middleton Township residents attended the EPA hearing for the wetlands permit. At the hearing residents asked many questions and expressed concerns about possible contamination of drinking water from the landfill. This hearing, however, was only concerning the wetlands permit request, and even though this permit has been granted, we urge Middleton residents not to give up the fight.
We hope they will press onward with their opposition to the license modification and keep pressure on our legislators to improve state landfill regulations. Creating or strengthening local zoning laws could also prevent this battle from being repeated.
After watching how long it took to shut down the A&L Salvage construction debris landfill closed despite numerous violations, every Columbiana County land owner must be on guard to keep our county from becoming a dumping ground for other states.