Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Landfill gets its license despite fire and odor

From Wednesday's ABJ, this report on the status of Countywide Landfill, home to lots of Summit County's trash:

The Stark County Health Department voted today to approve a 2007 license for a Stark County landfill where an underground fire has been smoldering.

With little discussion, the board of health commissioners voted to approve the permit for the Countywide Recycling & Disposal Facility in Pike Township, following a lengthy recommendation from Health Commissioner William Franks.

"Little discussion" indeed. What is there to discuss when the bags of trash keep piling up and there's no where else to dump it? I've been following this story all along, from initial reports of evidence of intense underground heat through EPA investigations and it seemed clear to me that the license would be renewed. What wasn't clear was what steps would be taken to fix the mess and how the for-profit landfill company would prevent future fires and odors.

According to this brief report Health Commissioner Franks says "Many of Countywide's problems will be corrected under an agreement with the state." Which leaves me wondering what are the other problems and why weren't they included in the agreement. The agreement the company signed with the Ohio EPA states that it must douse the fire and get rid of the odor. Let's see how quickly they can figure out how to do those things. They have until May 25th to submit a plan. They have to check the integrity of the plastic liner that holds all that toxic waste (including the stuff that is on fire) to make sure it isn't leaking. and yes, there is a fine of a million or so bucks.

Even so, the Health Commissioner says the landfill "is not a threat to public health or the environment and the company is substantially in compliance with regulations at its five other Ohio facilities."

Great. Is someone checking out those other five facilities?

By the way, "Republic Waste Services of Ohio owns and operates the 258-acre landfill. Its parent company is Florida-based Republic Services Inc." It's a great big toxic corporate world we live in. Isn't it comforting to know that landfill fires are so common that there are web sites like this one to deal with the problems?

Club 3000 is a citizens' organization that is trying to keep tabs on Countywide and other Ohio landfills. Check out their web page for the nitty gritty. The image above is from their web site and is a view of Countrywide as seen from Bolivar, Ohio.


Crunchy Chicken said...

Wow. I think I love my own local landfill a whole lot more after reading this post. They capture the gas and convert it to energy to run the landfill as well as provide electricity to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Village Green said...

Thanks for the link to your Seattle landfill. I'm waiting for someone to write An Inconvenient Truth about trash and landfills. How much toxic waste can almost 8 billion humans dump before we head in to mass die-off?

I will be encouraging everyone who stops here to join in Low Impact week June 1 - 7 and to check out your site for great tips to living lightly on the planet.