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Middleton trustee updated on landfill

NEGLEY– After heavy discussion at the last meeting regarding the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s involvement with the PennOhio Waste landfill, chief of the OEPA Northeast District Kurt Princic updated Middleton Township Trustee Gregory Lipp on what actions have been taken.

According to Princic, the operators of the landfill agreed to move the loadout from the rail cars up to Signal, west of Rogers.

“That would eliminate unloading the rail cars, doing that transfer right in downtown Negley,” Lipp said. “In place of the rail cars, everything would come in on trucks and trailers into the landfill.”

Princic also said that PennOhio has purchased a new road sweeper, which has a water tank on each side to add moisture. Lipp said they are taking the mud and sweeping it off to the side of the road, and he doesn’t think that addresses the problem.

“That isn’t going to fix it,” Lipp said. “That just builds up and it will end up in everyone’s yard.”

PennOhio also said it will clean out the on-site surface water ditches to better manage storm water, train employees to remove solid waste from the construction and demolition debris and engage the community with company outreach.

While it appears that possible improvements could be made, the goal of the Negley residents is still to shut down the landfill completely. However, Princic told Lipp that the OEPA has no authority to say where facilities are located, and those decisions fall under Ohio’s local zoning laws.

Lipp said that the best thing the residents can do is continue to build a case for OEPA to take action in court.

Because of this, Negley resident Chad Davidson called out Trustee Tim Pancake’s lawn care business for cleaning up debris on a lawn by the dump and not sending the landfill a bill. Davidson said that it is a conflict of interest to clean up the landfill’s mess, as it also removes evidence and makes the landfill look better.

Negley resident Maggie Mahon contacted an attorney about zoning, who wanted a $5,000 retainer to start. Lipp said that even with zoning, it may not solve the landfill problem.

“Even with zoning, it’s pre-existing now,” Lipp said. “You can’t stop what’s there. The only thing zoning would do is stop solid waste, but even that might be questionable now that they have an operating dump going on.”

slendak@mojonews.com

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