Apex Landfill urged to communicate with agencies, community

STEUBENVILLE – The Apex Sanitary Landfill near Amsterdam must install six additional vertical gas extraction wells at the site by Oct. 30 and should work to improve communications with the Jefferson County Health Department and the surrounding communities as well as the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

OEPA officials told the Apex landfill operators during a six-hour meeting on July 24 they should notify the OEPA Southwest District office and the Jefferson County Health Department about any construction activities at the site that may cause odors that have the potential to migrate into surrounding communities.

The OEPA issued findings and orders on June 3 requiring the landfill to conduct operations and implement procedures designed to effectively control odors and promptly respond to complaints from the community.

Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz reported Tuesday the health department received 164 odor complaints in July, while the Apex sponsored odor complaint telephone answering services received 166 complaints in August.

Health Department Sanitarian Mark Maragos said the odor complaint answering service has recorded 93 odor complaints so far this month.

Misselwitz told the board members the OEPA is trying to create a standardized odor monitoring program that will be used at landfills throughout Ohio.

According to Misselwitz, the new plan will require the health department sanitarians to stop at more than 20 sites to monitor for odors.

“We ran through the process in about 90 minutes. The plan also calls us to correlate with the weather conditions to determine which way the wind is blowing. We have a gas monitoring device that we will use when we do our testing. The program calls for us to stop and monitor at each designated site for five minutes,” explained Misselwitz.

“So this is a moment in time monitoring program,” said board member Dr. George Van Weelden.

The OEPA Aug. 12 letter to Dave Matthews of Apex Environmental stressed the importance of “communication between Apex, the health district, the community and the OEPA.”

The July 24 meeting participants discussed effective ways to communicate pertinent information, including a website, announcement board at the entrance to the landfill and routine update meetings with the community.

“These information sharing opportunities can be used to make citizens aware of recent and future construction activities designed to mitigate odors as well as summarize odor complaints and actions taken by Apex in response to confirmed detections. The announcement board can prepare citizens for brief periods of expected odors. The health district and the OEPA are available to support communication efforts, including opportunities for Apex to update the community at board of health meetings,” said OEPA Environmental Manager Joe Goicochea in his Aug. 12 letter to Apex.

“As Apex continues to implement measures designed to reduce and control landfill odors, I encourage you to maintain open dialog with my staff, the Jefferson County Health District and the community,” concluded Goicochea.

In other business during the monthly board meeting, Misselwitz announced C&D Disposal Technologies has filed motions to dismiss appeals filed with the Environmental Review Appeals Commission.

The C&D landfill owner had appealed the county health board’s decisions to deny operating licenses for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Attorney Costa Mastros said the appeals were dismissed because there is no operating license in effect for 2013.

“The appeal process is over with the motion to dismiss filed by C&D Technologies,” said Mastros.

Maragos announced Tuesday the oral rabies vaccine will be distributed by hand and by plane starting Tuesday.

“We also had a very successful county fair this year with the vendors and the animal barns,” Maragos added.

Misselwitz said the health department’s flu vaccine program will start on Sept. 9.

He also said Crestview subdivision residents who have abandoned their septic tank systems and tied into the county sanitary sewer line must pay a $50 fee.

“We have seen approximately forty residences tie into the sewer line but only four fees have been paid. If the residences don’t pay the required fee we will have to turn them into a collection agency,” said Misselwitz.