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Published: Wednesday, 2/16/2005

Oregon: Landfill's revision still draws critics

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Though Envirosafe officials have revised the expansion design of their active waste pit to increase safety, Oregon officials said they won't be revising their position on the expansion.

"We're all pretty much in agreement about the expansion," Oregon Mayor Marge Brown said. "The city's position is still the same as it's always been. We really don't want to see it happen."

Officials from the Envirosafe hazardous waste landfill initially asked the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in January, 2003, for permission to increase the height of Cell M, the active landfill cell south of York Street, by 70 feet. If approved, the total height of Cell M would increase to about 120 feet.

Mannik & Smith Group of Maumee, the engineering and design firm hired by Envirosafe to prepare and submit the permit modification, initially calculated a 1.3 factor of safety for the expansion's slope stability, which they said was safe.

But the Ohio EPA recently told Envirosafe officials that they would have to meet the desired 1.5 factor of safety before the Ohio EPA would consider granting a draft permit, said Dina Pierce, spokesman for the Ohio EPA.

Ms. Pierce said Mannik & Smith submitted their new design Friday, which gives a 1.552 factor of safety for slope stability.

Council President Mike Sheehy said although the city had hoped the request would be denied, he appreciated the fact that the Ohio EPA was standing firm on its desired level of safety.

"This is the very least the state can do to come to the aid of a municipality to have a safe facility here in Oregon," he said.

Oregon City Council has been opposed to the expansion since it was first proposed, and hired Arcadis FPS Inc., a consulting and engineering firm, and Charles Moore, another consultant and an Ohio State University professor, to review the design last year.

Both consultants pointed out in separate reports, which were submitted to the Ohio EPA for consideration, that the expansion did not meet the Ohio EPA desired factor of safety.

Although the 1.3 factor of safety was found to be an accurate calculation, Ms. Pierce said the Ohio EPA agreed with the findings and asked Envirosafe to increase the factor of safety after meeting with the consultants.

"The 1.5 is the best minimum that we would want to see," Ms. Pierce said.

Envirosafe President Doug Roberts said meeting the desired factor of safety is not an an issue. "Though we would have preferred to know about the standard sooner than now, we have no problem complying with it," he said.

Oregon officials have objected to the expansion partly because they thought the landfill would close when it reached capacity.

Most of the waste buried in the facility's active cell is electric arc furnace dust from air-pollution devices at steel mills.



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