Landfills told to inform public better

STEUBENVILLE – The Apex Sanitary Landfill operators will erect a billboard at the facility’s main entrance to advise area residents of future projects that may cause odor issues.

Jefferson County Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz informed the health board members Tuesday the landfill operators were told by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency that the operators should improve communications with the community.

“The new billboard will notify residents the landfill operations will be putting selected waste in Cell 6A in the southeast corner of the landfill. And the billboard will advise residents of the possibility of odors next months when they start installing new gas collection wells,” explained Misselwitz.

In a Sept. 16 letter sent to Apex General Manager Dave Matthew, OEPA District Engineer Craig Walkenspaw said Apex should provide advanced notification of construction and maintenance activities that are designed to improve odor control that may temporarily cause offsite odors.

“This section should include the ways in which public awareness is promoted for the odor complaint hotline. In addition, this section of the odor management plan should include information sharing opportunities such as a publicly accessible announcement board, website and routine meetings with the community,” wrote Walkenspaw.

Walkenspaw also suggested Apex regularly update the community at board of health meetings.

In related business Misselwitz demonstrated the new odor monitoring equipment the health department sanitarians are using to check odors at 20 sites surrounding the landfill, including several locations in Harrison County.

“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.

Fritz Tulencik, a long time activist living near the landfill, said he is taking a wait-and-see attitude about the Apex communications and the new odor monitoring system.

“If the monitoring says there is no smell and we still have a stench I’m not sure how to resolve that. We are experiencing an increased number of overnight odors when no one is around to monitor the stench,” said Tulencik.

Sanitarian Carla Gampola said Fiddler Excavating is continuing to clean up an illegal dump site on Wells Township Road 117.

“I gave them an extension because they are making progress. At one point there was waste 8 feet deep and more than 300 tires. But they are making progress,” Gampola said.

She also reported the James Wellington dump site on state Route 152 in Knox Township “is turning into an unlicensed landfill.”

“He has pulled down the privacy fence, pushed the waste over the bank and is covering it with dirt,” explained Gampola.

The board authorized Assistant County Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta to pursue legal action against Wellington.

And Agresta told the board members she also is preparing to pursue legal action against the C&D Disposal Technologies Landfill near Wintersville.

“We are prepared to consolidate several actions into one case and pursue the court action in front of Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese. The issues remain the non-payment of tipping fees and the leachate issues at the landfill,” said Agresta.

Gampola told Agresta and the board members that Phoenix Recycling is accepting metal for recycling purposes at the landfill’s weigh station.

“Nothing has been done as far as the leachate coming from the old Crossridge Landfill or the C&D Landfill. There is a very bad black fly problem at the landfill because of the uncovered waste,” Gampola said.

And Annette Stewart of the county health department announced a child seat inspection and replacement program will be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the TEAM Automotive Chevrolet dealership in Wintersville on Oct. 26.

“We have been notified that State Farm Insurance is giving us another $1,000 grant to purchase additional child car seats. We will also be working with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to inspect the used car seats to make sure they are safe and in compliance,” stated Stewart.