Oregon is considering installing its own monitoring wells in the right-of-way around Envirosafe Services of Ohio’s hazardous waste landfill on Otter Creek Road.
Currently, over 100 monitoring wells installed on Envirosafe’s property are tested by the company regularly to determine whether contamination is leaking from the landfill.
The city’s Public Utilities and Environmental Committee last Monday unanimously recommended to council that the city install its own monitoring wells in response to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Violations to Envirosafe earlier this year regarding leachate levels in Cell M, Envirosafe’s only active hazardous waste cell, and the inspections of the dewatering trenches and water line trench.
Council still has to approve the recommendation before any action is taken.
On March 11, the Ohio EPA observed that Envirosafe failed to operate the pump in the rimary leachate collection system sump in a section of Cell M as outlined in its permit, for an extended period of time.
Leachate, or liquid, that filters through the landfill must be removed, tested and managed as hazardous waste.
Envirosafe, according to its permit, must monitor, operate, and maintain the primary leachate collection system and secondary leachate collection system of Cell M. The level of leachate accumulation on the primary synthetic liner must not exceed the height of one foot. On the morning of March 11, Chris Maslo, of the Ohio EPA, noticed that Envirosafe had allowed the leachate level in the primary sump in a section of Cell M to reach at least 129.4” over the floor of the sump.
“We essentially told them to make sure leachate levels are kept at or below levels required in their permit,” said Dina Pierce, spokesman for the Ohio EPA.
In addition, the Ohio EPA found that Envirosafe, between at least April 1, 2006 through April 28 of this year, had violated its permit by failing to employ effective management practices, appropriately implement existing written standard operating procedures, accurately record and report to the Toledo Division of Environmental Services and to the Ohio EPA the conditions in the monitoring and dewatering trenches, and provide adequate staff training and oversight.
The City of Toledo’s raw water lines run through the Envirosafe site. The dewatering trenches run parallel to the water lines on both sides. The purpose of the trenches is to collect leachate or storm water that moves through the ground toward the water line trench, according to Pierce.
“These trenches are deeper than the water line trench. The permit requires Envirosafe to pump out liquids so they never rise as high as the bottom of the water line, or water line `invert’ level,” explained Pierce. “The inspections are to check leachate levels and, if necessary, have the liquids pumped out. While the water line is under pressure and encased in concrete and steel, making it unlikely that any leachate could infiltrate the water system, it is nevertheless important to make sure leachate never gets that chance. Proper record keeping lets us review that Envirosafe is doing the inspections and maintenance required by their permit.”
Ohio EPA has asked Envirosafe to do a better, more accurate job of recording data observed during their inspections, keep leachate levels below the level of the city’s water line, and make sure inspections are conducted at least every seven days, said Pierce.
“To date, Envirosafe has not implemented the requirements we told them to do to return to compliance on these issues,” said Pierce. “However, they are working with their staff and engineer to take the necessary steps to resolve these issues.”
Joann Schiavone, a long-time opponent of Envirosafe who has pushed hard for the installation of monitoring wells in the city right-of-way, said she was pleased by the committee’s recommendation.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city to make sure there’s no contamination leaking from Envirosafe,” she said.
Schiavone appeared before city council two weeks ago and the Public Utilities and Environmental Committee to ask for the wells.
“I would like to know where they’re going to place them,” said Schiavone. “They should be placed in different places, different elevations.”
The wells will likely be in close proximity to the landfill along York Street and Otter Creek Road, said Administrator Ken Filipiak, who was at the committee meeting.
“They would provide another set of independent data that we could compare to Ohio EPA’s. If ours showed contamination, then we would consider whether or not Envirosafe was responsible for that contamination. It’s just another way of doing monitoring of our own as a cross check to the monitoring the Ohio EPA does.”
The city’s law department had also recommended the installation of monitoring wells on city property, said Filipiak.
“It’s very likely you’ll see an ordinance before council to authorize some of that work,” said Filipiak.