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Published: Monday, 3/25/2013

Bell seeks extension of contract for lime removal

Kaptur calls for study of impact of sludge storage

The administration of Mayor Mike Bell has asked Toledo City Council to extend a contract for $950,000 with two companies to haul away spent lime from its drinking water plant. The administration of Mayor Mike Bell has asked Toledo City Council to extend a contract for $950,000 with two companies to haul away spent lime from its drinking water plant.
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The Bell administration has asked Toledo City Council to extend a contract for $950,000 with two companies to haul away spent lime from its drinking water plant.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) still awaits an answer to her request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to examine the possible impact of depositing and storing the city’s sewage sludge in Facility 3, a man-made, diked-in area that juts into Maumee Bay.

S&L Fertilizer Inc., one of the companies the city hires to haul away the spent lime — a byproduct of the water treatment process — mixes the material with sludge from the city’s sewage-treatment plant and dredge material at Facility 3, and then sells the mixture, which it calls Nu-Soil.

Miss Kaptur sent the U.S. EPA a letter seeking “technical assistance and guidance” after a request from Toledo Councilman D. Michael Collins, who disagrees with using Facility 3 for sludge disposal and storage.

Steve Katich, Miss Kaptur’s chief of staff, said Friday no response had been received.

After seeing the Bell administration’s six-month contract extension request for S&L and the other firm, Stansley Inc., Mr. Collins acknowledged Friday it is necessary to remove the spent lime, but still questioned the sludge storage at Facility 3.

“I realize we have no alternative but to have the spent lime hauled away because it has no value to us,” Mr. Collins said. “But I have trouble with the other part of this.”

Director David Welch, the city’s public utilities director, said the entire requested $950,000 is unlikely to be spent, but he wants authorization for the full amount in case it is needed.

City Council will review the request to extend the contract on Tuesday.

Much of the 500-acre Facility 3 is owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. It was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1970s to house contaminated sediment dredged from the Maumee River and Maumee Bay shipping channels — material that continues to be dumped there.

All the sludge created at the city’s sewer plant in North Toledo — about 50,000 tons a year — is taken there by East Toledo’s S&L Fertilizer.

S&L sends Nu-Soil back to the city to use as cover at the Hoffman Road Landfill, but a Blade review of public records earlier this year showed the Nu-Soil was used elsewhere. The Blade’s review also found that the Ohio EPA had not required tracking of where the sludge and dredge-spoil combination is taken.

Mr. Collins said Nu-Soil is not permitted to be used at the Hoffman Road landfill for cover and, instead, tons of the product have been stockpiled at the landfill pending Ohio EPA approval.

S&L was paid $269,548 in 2008 and $210,174 in 2009 for “waste water treatment.” The company was additionally paid $1.9 million in 2008 and $1.1 million in 2009 for “water treatment.”

Nu-Soil has been used as fill at Ravine Park in East Toledo, a retirees’ golf course, and at a private residence on Manhattan Boulevard, city records show. Some is sold to farmers, said Terry Perry, who operates S&L.

For about 12 years, Ohio EPA did not require S&L to track and report where the Nu-Soil went, state EPA Director Scott Nally said in a February, 2012, letter. That changed Dec. 1, when a new Ohio EPA permit required all Class B pathogen-laden sludge be removed from Facility 3 within two years after dumping ceases.

A city record obtained by The Blade shows 29,850 tons of Nu-Soil delivered to the Hoffman Road Landfill in 2010.

An additional 6,529 tons was marked as delivered to the city, with Ravine Park listed as the destination, in 2010.

The same record states 32,195 tons was sent in 2007 to the landfill and 19,971 tons to Ravine Park.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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