Health board discusses Apex landfill odor

STEUBENVILLE – The Jefferson County Board of Health has compiled a list of Jefferson County residents who are filing odor complaints about the Apex Sanitary Landfill with the health department or a toll-free answering service.

Health Department Sanitarian Mark Maragos demonstrated the new odor complaint tracking program for the health board.

“Our new program started on June 14 and we received a total of 89 complaints through the health department and the answering service for the remainder of June. So far in July we have see 66 odor complaints received by the answering service and 10 complaints filed with the health department,” explained Maragos.

He said all complaints filed with the answering service are e-mailed to the health department, the Apex landfill and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“We are monitoring where the complaints are coming from. Then I go to the landfill and look at their list of odor complaints and operations log to determine what happened that day at the landfill,” noted Sanitarian Carla Gampola.

The Apex odor complaint toll free number is (888) 878-7919.

Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz told the health board members the OEPA issued a notice of violation dated June 19.

According to a response letter mailed July 8 from Dave Mathews, general manager of Apex Environmental to Rich Fox, environmental supervisor of the OEPA, the odor surveillance was conducted on April 25-27 and May 7, 14 and 29.

“Detectable odors were present along county Road 78, township Road 267 and township Road 267A. On average more than 14 minutes of detectable odor was present per hour of surveillance. Due to the presence of these off-site landfill odors, Apex has failed to strictly control odors as required and is therefore in violation of Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3745-27-19,” the letter reads.

The OEPA also requested a conference with the Apex operator to discuss action taken by the facility to address odors as well as steps taken to comply with the orders issues by the OEPA director on June 3.

The landfill general manager has requested a copy of the information the OEPA collected during the odor surveillance and an explanation of how the average of 14 minutes of detectable odor per hour was calculated.

In a related issue, the OEPA has notified the Apex Landfill the facility has abated and taken appropriate action in response to a May 20 notice of violation for the disposal of liquid waste at the landfill.

Gampola said the landfill periodically clears sediment from the leachate pipe and then puts the sediment back on the landfill.

“That sediment is actually supposed to be taken to a treatment plant,” said Gampola.

In other matters Tuesday, Misselwitz said he is going to cancel an agreement to provide a part-time sanitarian to the Harrison County Health Department.

“We will be starting on our inspection of the septic tanks that will be crushed in the Crestview and Belvedere subdivision and will be busy with that project,” said Misselwitz.

Misselwitz also responded to comments made by Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Gentile at last week’s commissioners’ meeting.

Gentile said the solid waste district – JB Green Team – county health department and the Ohio EPA all receive funding from tipping fees at the landfill. He said it is ironic that the county health department and the Ohio EPA get money and then are responsible for enforcing monitoring complaints.

Misselwitz said Tuesday the county receives six cents in tipping fees for every ton of construction and demolition debris accepted at the landfill.