STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Health agreed Tuesday to pursue legal action against C&D Disposal Technologies for nearly $94,000 in unpaid tipping fees dating from December 2011 until last July.
The board members also were told the proposed purchase of the closed construction and demolition debris landfill near Wintersville has fallen through.
"We have been told by by the Ohio attorney general's office the negotiations between the landfill owners and United Waste have collapsed. And the attorney general's office is taking appropriate steps," explained Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz.
"The landfill owners have also started Phoenix Recycling at the landfill and are accepting metal items. But they are not cleaning up the landfill," added Misselwitz.
"We understand closure activities are not taking place. The landfill is not operating but it has not been officially closed as it should have been. We have also been told there is no progress to report on the proposed sale of the landfill. We continue to make inspections of the facility periodically," stated Erin Strouse of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The health board asked Assistant County Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta at the February meeting to start an investigation into the finances of C&D Disposal Technologies to determine if the landfill collected tipping fees last year that should have been paid to the health department.
Agresta said the owners of the now closed landfill owe the health department $93,708 in back payments from December 2011 to July 2012, "and that amount continues to grow because of the 10 percent a month late fees."
"I will be determining if C&D was paid tipping fees and if so, why they didn't pay fees to the health department. If we find the landfill owners did obtain fees, it will be up to the board of health on the next course of action," said Agresta.
The health board and C&D landfill have been in a legal stalemate for months.
The two sides last squared off before Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson in November when Joseph Scugoza, co-managing partner of the C&D Disposal Technologies, agreed to a contempt of court motion filed by the Jefferson County board of health.
Scugoza was given until Dec. 20 to clean up the landfill's recycling site.
Scugoza said at a November court hearing the landfill soon would be sold to United Waste and that corporation would fund the clean up of the recycling site.
Todd Lautzenheiser, chairman of the board of directors for United Waste, said in a November telephone interview that his company has been in talks with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regarding the purchase of the C&D landfill.
"We are very excited about this project. We want to meet all OEPA requirements to make sure we get waste coming back through the landfill. This particular project is very near and dear to my heart because I am from Ohio," said Lautzenheiser.
Neither Scugoza or Lautzenheiser could be reached for comment.
In other business Tuesday, Misselwitz said he still is waiting for supervisors from the Apex Landfill near Amsterdam to meet with him regarding complaints filed with the landfill's odor complaint hot line.
"I plan to write a letter to the landfill manager requesting a meeting before the end of March," Misselwitz noted.
Misselwitz also reported discussions are continuing with the Steubenville Health Department regarding which department will provide immunizations for adults and children.
"I have also talked to the county water and sewer department regarding 21 houses and business in Pottery Addition who have not yet connected with the new sewer system," he said.
"We will ask the county commissioners for a resolution telling those property owners they must connect with the new sewer system. If they continue to refuse to make the connection we will be forced to take them to court," said Misselwitz.