The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


Residents of Benton Township in Ottawa County continue to press for answers while a local quarry operation awaits a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to dispose spent lime from the City of Toledo’s water treatment plant into the quarry.

According to a permit application filed with the Ohio EPA, Rocky Ridge Development, owner of the quarry along State Route 590, is seeking to dispose 3.6 million cubic yards of spent lime into the quarry at a rate of 90,000 cubic yards per year.

“Rocky Ridge Development, LLC proposes to blend the spent lime with soil to create a stable, engineered fill material inside the quarry,” the application says. “Based on laboratory testing and site knowledge, use of this material as engineered fill will not create a nuisance or harm human health or the environment…”

Mixing the lime with dirt from the site, the company has been placing the mixture into berms around the quarry.

During an Aug. 8 meeting of the township trustees, representatives of the company and Hull & Associates, a consulting engineering firm, outlined the company’s permit application.

But for Rich Loth, a resident who’s been pushing for details about the company’s plans, too many questions remain unanswered about what he calls a “witches brew” and its possible effects on the aquifer that provides water to the community.

Although the company and consulting firm cited findings of lab tests demonstrating the material would have no harmful effect on the aquifer, he remains unconvinced.

“Are there other locations, similar to the (former) Stoneco quarry, where this type of material has been disposed without contaminating an aquifer? Or are we relying on lab results and hope they correlate to a real life situation? I get a little nervous relying on lab results that have not been proven in larger scale applications,” he said.

Because contamination of the aquifer would be irreversible, he reasons, the company should be required to secure a bond to cover the cost of extending potable water to township residents if the aquifer becomes contaminated.

“Once it’s done, it’s an irreversible situation,” Loth said.

Township trustees visited the quarry last month, said Wes Gahler, a trustee.

“They showed us what they were doing and explained their operations to us,” he said. “They provided us with the information we asked for. We were pretty happy with how they treated us. Some of the information we asked for was in a locked trailer but they brought us the information at our next meeting. We’re not chemists so we’re not sure what some of the print-outs mean. The biggest concern citizens have is if the company wants to dump right into the vacant quarry itself.”

The company plans to use on-site soil for blending with the lime but may request approval to also use off-site sources.

Zoning issues also may become a factor. The property where the quarry is located is zoned for industrial use but Loth and others question if the disposal of the spent lime requires a special-use zoning permit from the township.

David Boldt, an assistant Ottawa County prosecutor, last week said his office is waiting for a review of the site’s operations from the township zoning inspector. Once received, his office can then provide a legal opinion on whether a special or conditional permit is required.

Gahler said the township zoning regulations prohibit waste materials from being brought into the township.

“It comes down to defining what this material is. Is it waste or a by-product?” he said. “That’s what we need to determine and that’s why we’re asking the prosecutor’s office for assistance.”

The company acquired the StoneCo Quarry in 2015 and acquired an additional 138 acres of agricultural land earlier this year to allow for borrowing soil as well as farm test plots to be developed in partnership with area universities, the application says. Eventually, the company would like to reclaim the quarry in accordance with rules set by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for closing quarry areas.

The Ohio EPA in November 2014 approved a Land Application Management Plan for Stansley Industries, a company affiliated with Rocky Ridge Development, to use lime residual from Toledo’s water treatment plant in a soil blend.

That permit sets a ceiling of 35 percent lime residuals with no less than 65 percent soil and requires the residual material be analyzed for arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc. If any exceed certain levels, the company is prohibited from using it.



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