Is OSS Waste District on verge of breaking up?

Larry Limpf

News Editor

Ottawa County commissioner Mark Coppeler recently provided opponent testimony to a bill pending in the state legislature that would allow certain counties to unilaterally withdraw from joint solid waste districts.
Coppeler, who is a member of the Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Solid Waste District board of directors, told the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee that Senate Bill 119 would change current law and enable a county to withdraw from a solid waste management district without the consent of all member counties as is now required. The change would have a detrimental effect on waste districts, he said.
“This bill would allow a county that contributes 75 percent or more of the revenue to the district to unilaterally exit the district,” Coppeler told the committee. “It would appear that breaking up the OSS Solid Waste District by allowing Seneca County to exit is a key part of the bill. This is concerning. Solid Waste Districts were formed by the Ohio Revised Code with certain criteria. The population of our counties required us to form the OSS SWD to meet those requirements. If SB 119 passes…that would allow Seneca County to unilaterally withdraw from the district. The effect would be to destroy our SWD and the recycling programs associated with the district.”
He said the three counties in the past have worked together and agree there should be more oversight at the district landfill in Seneca County.
“The need to leave the district is puzzling,” Coppeler said. “Seneca County has never mentioned to the OSS SWD board or to the policy committee their desire to leave the district. I agree that funding is flawed and that we should be able to charge more for out-of-state waste. I agree that more oversight of the landfill is appropriate and would like to see the Ohio EPA take a more assertive stance in this matter. If the senator’s bill goes into effect with funding changes in place, why would it be necessary for the county to leave the district? Not only would it destroy the recycling efforts in our three counties, but across the State of Ohio.”
Last month, the Seneca County General Health District approved a resolution of support for the bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Bill Reineke.
“Ottawa Sandusky Seneca Joint Solid Waste Management District collects approximately 90 percent of its budget from the landfill located in Seneca County. However, the allocated budget by the Joint Solid Waste Management District for oversight at the landfill facility is 2.4 percent of the district’s budget. This imbalance forces our residents to endure many of the problems associated with having a landfill.
“Senate Bill 119 provides the solution for Seneca County to be able to create its own district. This change would strengthen oversight measures, instilling confidence in our residents and assuring them that their health and well-being are our top priorities,” the resolution says.
The resolution also notes Interstate Commerce law prevents the district from charging higher fees for out-of-state refuse, inadvertently incentivizing other states to use Ohio “as a convenient dumping ground.”
“Senate Bill 119 aims to remedy this issue by equalizing disposal fee regardless of the origin of the waste,” the resolution says.


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