JB Green Team could stop landfill reopening

STEUBENVILLE — The JB Green Team, the solid waste authority for Jefferson and Belmont counties, has the authority to stop the proposed reopening of the Crossridge Landfill, but that consideration won’t happen for at least another two to three years if an application is made.

Greenway Reclamation of Garden City, N.Y., is proposing to reopen the landfill and make existing environmental remediations in exchange for the ability to accept a large amount of out-of-state waste.

Scott Fabian, JB Green Team chairman, said during an executive committee meeting on Monday at the City Building the solid waste authority must give Greenway Reclamation due process in allowing it to make its application before any decision by the authority.

He said an Ohio township in the 1990s violated a landfill’s due process in making an application resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Fabian said Greenway first has to file for an application with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to reopen the landfill, located off Fernwood Road in Cross Creek Township, something which hasn’t happened. The application process could take a couple of years. The solid waste authority will receive the plan to reopen the landfill and then the authority can review the plan, Fabian said,

“Until they apply, nothing legally can happen,” Fabian said.

The solid waste authority will hire an engineering firm to review the plan.

He said four entities can reject the application — the Ohio EPA; the Jefferson County Health Board; the Cross Creek Township trustees; and the solid waste authority. Fabian said Cross Creek Township doesn’t have zoning so the township is out of the mix.

The county health department board on Nov. 19 unanimously voted not to support a proposal to reopen the landfill.

Other entities have joined in opposing the landfill, including Steubenville City Council and the Jefferson County commissioners. The Jefferson County Port Authority has the issue on its agenda for its Wednesday meeting.

Fabian said the solid waste authority can reject the plan for the landfill based on the impact to roads, residents and the cost to the health department for inspecting the landfill.

There were about a dozen concerned residents at the meeting on Monday.

Mark Nelson, a Cross Creek Township resident, urged the solid waste authority to strengthen requirements for landfill sitings in its solid waste plan.

Fabian said the authority is set to review the solid waste plan next year but can make amendments at any time. Such an action would require approval by the county commissioners in Belmont and Jefferson counties, Steubenville and Martins Ferry, the two largest cities in the district, and 60 percent of the population based on votes by other cities, villages and townships, he said.

Board member Nicole Balakos, county health commissioner, said the solid waste authority could look into amending its plan.

Geary Bates of the regional airport authority said the board has voted to retain legal counsel to fight the landfill proposal.

Bates at a previous meeting said there are dangers of birds striking an airplane or being sucked into a jet engine when an airport is close to a landfill. He said there are federal and state regulations about the proximity of landfills to airports, both of which would appear to stop the landfill development. Bates said $40 million has been invested into the airport.

Bates said the key is to get out in front of the landfill proposal.

“We do have a good dog in this hunt,” he said.

Keith Reynolds of Cross Creek Township said he is concerned about the damage to roads with trucks hauling in waste. City Manager James Mavromatis said there is a railroad spur at the landfill which could be expanded. He said Greenway Reclamation has made it clear the out-of-state waste will be brought in by rail.

Ed Gribben of Bergholz said residents around the Apex Landfill have had to live with the stench. He wanted to know what can be done to protect the residents. Fabian said the solid waste authority has no oversight concerning Apex. The health department inspects the landfill and has noted more violations in the past year, Balakos said.

Fabian said the solid waste authority is basically a state-mandated recycling program. It receives some funding from an operating landfill, he said. But, without the funding, the authority can impose a fee on property owners.

Nelson said baseline readings have to be established on the current air and water quality around Crossridge.


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