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Landfill operator looking to switch

NEGLEY–The company that operates the construction/demolition debris landfill located in the hills overlooking Negley wants to turn it into a facility for the disposal of household trash.

Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle reported at this week’s commission meeting they received a letter dated Sept. 12 from PennOhio Director Nicholas Stork advising them of the company’s “intent to submit a Permit to Install Application for a municipal solid waste landfill for the PennOhio Landfill.”

“I met with Nick Stork and he advised me two months ago they were switching over,” Weigle said.

The PennOhio facility is 150 acres, of which 25 acres are used for the disposal of construction/demolition debris. Stork’s letter concludes by saying the permit application for a solid waste landfill “may be reviewed” at either the OEPA’s regional office in Twinsburg or at the landfill, but OEPA media coordinator Anthony Chenault said they have received no such application.

The landfill was in the news again recently after people who live nearby and other opponents staged a protest after two ex-employees claimed they were fired for supposedly expressing their concerns to company officials about inappropriate items being disposed of in the landfill. Opponents also pointed out the landfill had recently been cited by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, but six of the nine violations had been corrected by the time of the Sept. 1 story.

Weigle said he has been in contact with residents, even though commissioners have no authority over the landfill. “They have legitimate concerns, and if I lived across from those rail cars I’d be against it,” he said.

Much of the C/D material is unloaded from rail cars on the railroad tracks that run through Negley and then transported to the landfill.

“We’ve certainly been called by neighboring residents about the dust and mud on the road, and it’s only going to get worse” if the landfill begins accepting solid waste, Weigle said.

The OEPA called Weigle to discuss their concerns. “I did mention to them that one of the concerns is they were operating late at night,” he said. Weigle was surprised to learn PennOhio has no set hours of operations under its current permit.

Weigle said Stork has assured him they “want to be good neighbors with the people in Negley.” He told Stork that many of the problems could be addressed in a timely manner by having an inspector on site daily. Weigle suggested contacting the county health department to determine if something could be worked out, and he said Stork indicated he was willing to explore that possibility.

The health department once had oversight responsibility for C/D landfills but was stripped of that power about 15 years ago by the OEPA, which has sole responsibility for licensing and monitoring.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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