To give residents peace of mind, members of Northwood City Council have hired two environmental consultants to critique a proposed vertical expansion at a local landfill.
Waste Management's Evergreen Recycling and Disposal Facility, 2625 East Broadway, submitted a design document to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency seeking expansion, and the Ohio EPA granted a draft permit back in September.
If the permit-to-install is approved, it would create 1.513 million cubic yards of space that would extend the landfill's life by 1.7 years.
If the landfill continues to receive its average waste intake of 611,000 tons a year, it would have a 15-year life span.
Council recently voted to hire Ohio State University professors Charles Moore and Frank Schwartz to review the proposal to assure city officials that the design documents were generally well-prepared by Evergreen authorities and adequately reviewed by the Ohio EPA.
City Administrator Pat Bacon said it's not unusual for city officials to hire consultants to review city matters.
"We decided it was time because they're asking for this expansion," she said. "We wanted some professionals to look at everything with what they're doing now and what they are proposing."
Mr. Moore is an engineering professor who teaches landfill design and has written U.S. EPA guidance documents on landfill design.
Mr. Schwartz is a professor of geology who has served in various advisory capacities.
Both serve as consultants in their respective fields, and will receive $125 an hour, plus expenses, not to exceed $5,000 for performing an initial engineering review of the Evergreen design documents from Northwood.
The consultants will focus on landfill components, such as the liner system, leachate removal system, the cap, changes made for the proposed modification, and groundwater data.
Ms. Bacon said that she thinks it will take the consultants about a month to complete their review.
And Waste Management of Ohio has also agreed to kick in $5,000 for the consultants, said Beth Schmucker, community relations manager for Waste Management.
"We're real confident in the landfill and that it's environmentally secure," she said. "We support the city in wanting to do some additional checks and balances if that helps make people feel better - absolutely."
The landfill's proposed expansion would not increase the permitted height of the landfill because the 10 to 11-foot expansion would be underground, said Dina Pierce, an Ohio EPA spokesman.
In addition, she said the draft permit states that the 25-foot soil plug covering the waste in several cells would be scraped off to make room for more waste.
"Things have changed now and evidently in that cap they feel it's wasted space with just plain dirt," Ms. Bacon said.
Northwood's environmental attorney, Tom Hays, suggested the consultants review the draft permit to reassure the city that even with extra waste, the cells would remain solid.
Ms. Pierce said the Ohio EPA has yet to approve the draft permit for the landfill's proposal.