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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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        The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public information meeting and hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 8, to accept comments about a proposed expansion of the Envirosafe Services of Ohio Inc. (ESOI) landfill, 876 Otter Creek Road.

        ESOI accepts hazardous waste from off-site sources for storage, treatment or disposal in Cell M, the only active hazardous waste cell at the facility that receives waste. The company has applied for a permit modification to vertically expand Cell M by 14 feet. If approved, it would increase the remaining capacity by 144,670 cubic yards to a total of 244,440 cubic yards.

        “They’re getting full, so they’re not going to be around for a long time,” Councilwoman Sandy Bihn said of the Envirosafe facility at a council meeting on Dec. 17. “So the administration received a proposal from Hull and Associates to look at the closure/post closure care funds and the new elevations for raising Cell M higher than it is.”

        Bihn said Envirosafe has funded an account over the years that would pay for the consultant to determine if there is enough money set aside by the facility to close the site correctly.

        “The post closure fund is for another 20 years. We fought hard many years ago to have a perpetual care fund that would go beyond the 20 years but unfortunately, EPA allowed that fund to be depleted at the time. If you go to the hearing, the consultant will share the findings he has. They have great experience with other landfills across the country in closure and post closure costs.”

        Bihn said the public should ask questions now before the facility is full and closed.

        “If you have questions when they’re not operating anymore, I don’t think you’d get much out of them,” she said.

       

Controversial

        The landfill is located on over 100 acres. The controversial facility has been a concern of environmentalists since it was constructed in the early 90s because it is about one mile from Lake Erie, and within one block of Lake Erie’s tributaries. In addition, Toledo's raw water lines run through the property.

        In 1992, it was learned that Envirosafe had conducted pump tests beneath Cell M before it was built in 1991 that had identified sand zones that could form a path for liquids to leak off-site. The results of the test were never shared with the public or city officials.

        A member of the now defunct Hazardous Waste Facility Board, which once issued permits for new hazardous waste facilities and processed major permit modifications at existing ones, told The Press at the time that it was unlikely the board would have granted the permit to build Cell M had it known about the test results. The information prompted the city and residents to ask state and federal agencies to send the permit back to the board for reconsideration. Liquids leaking off-site, they said, could pose a threat to Lake Erie.

        Enviroafe never denied the existence of sand pockets, but argued that the deposits were random and not connected.

        Richard Sahli, former chairman of the board, believed otherwise. He said at the time that the test results showed there was a connection between underground sand zones that allow water to move across the site. Still, Donald R. Schregardus, Ohio EPA director at the time, stood by Envirosafe, saying a review of the tests showed there was no convincing reason in reopening the permit.

        In 1996, benzene, a carcinogen, was detected in the soil and ground water at Envriosafe’s old waste site. The facility was ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to find the extent of the contamination. The facility underwent corrective action for the next several years to find the source of hazardous waste found near the northern sanitary landfill.

       

Agreement

        The hazardous waste facility last requested an expansion of Cell M in 2005. The Ohio EPA’s director later that year approved an application for a modification of Envirosafe’s permit to increase the allowable elevation of Cell M at the facility from the limits in the facility’s original permit issued in 1991 by the Ohio Hazardous Waste Facility Board to 714 feet above the mean sea level.

        A month later, Oregon appealed the Ohio EPA’s decision to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). The city dropped its appeal after Envirosafe agreed to submit to the Ohio EPA a request for a permit modification to reduce the above grade permitted elevation of Cell M from 714 feet above the mean sea level to 700 feet above the mean sea level. Envirosafe further agreed that it would not seek to expand the footprint or sideslopes of Cell M from the limits in Envirosafe’s current permit.

        Had the permit modification request been rejected, Cell M would have been filled by 2007-08.

        Envirosafe had also agreed to record a Declaration of Restrictions for the property on York Street, known as the Johlin property, which prohibited its future use as a landfill disposal cell, including use as a solid waste, medical waste, or construction and demolition debris landfill disposal cell. Enviroafe agreed that any future use of the Johlin property would be in accordance with the provisions of the Oregon zoning code.

       

Public comments

        The meeting on Tuesday will begin at 6 p.m. at Oregon City Council Chambers, 5330 Seaman Rd. During the information session, Ohio EPA representatives will present information about the expansion application and the permitting process. During the hearing, which will immediately follow the information session, the public can submit comments for the record regarding the proposed action.

        The company also is requesting a permit modification for the surface water management plan for closed cells G and H. The modification would update calculations to make sure the storm water control system for cells G and H can contain water from a 25-year, 24-hour storm.

        The draft permit modification and related information can be viewed online at https://eoa,igui,giv/derr/ under the “What’s New” tab or at Ohio EPA’s Northwest District Office, 347 North Dunbridge Road, Bowling Green. For an appointment, call (419) 352-8461. The documents are available at Ohio EPA’s Central Office, Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization, 50 W. Town St., Columbus. For an appointment, call (614) 644-2924. The draft permit also can be viewed at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Oregon Branch, 3340 Dustin Road.

        Written comments on the draft permit will be accepted at the hearing or may be mailed to Ohio EPA, Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization, Attn: Chloe Mercier, DERR, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH, 43216-1049, or Chloe.Mercier@epa.ohio.gov. Comments will be accepted until Jan. 18.

        “We could ask for an extension, depending on what they tell us,” said Bihn.

       

       

       

       

 

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