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Published: Friday, 12/15/2006

Northwood landfill license renewed

BY TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Waste Management s Evergreen Recycling and Disposal Facility in Northwood has had its annual operating license renewed even though Wood County s interim health commissioner said he was opposed to such action.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on Monday settled multiple violations at the site, 2625 East Broadway, with Waste Management. Joe Koncelik, state EPA director, issued a final findings and orders document.

That left Brad Espen, currently serving the dual role of environmental health director and interim health commissioner for the Wood County Health District, with no recourse but to reluctantly process Waste Management s request for a 12-month license renewal, starting Jan. 1.

The landfill s license was due to expire Dec. 31.

Dina Pierce, an Ohio EPA spokesman, said $65,808 in fines were imposed on Waste Management, plus a number of performance stipulations.

As long as Waste Management abides by the state EPA director s order, it is considered to be back in compliance with state regulations meaning the local health board no longer had justification for turning down the license request.

Mr. Espen told The Blade yesterday that he remains very displeased with Waste Management s recent operation of the landfill because of repeated violations involving hazardous waste being deposited at the facility, which only should accept nonhazardous materials.

I m not happy with the way they ve been running the facility at all, he said.

Mr. Espen said he would have recommended suspension of the license, and I m sure the board [of health] would have approved my recommendation.

Instead, the matter was withdrawn from the board s agenda for its meeting last night.

We were proposing to deny, Mr. Espen said.

He said he originally was advised to do that by the Ohio EPA.

This is the first time we ve ever been requested to do that since we ve had a solid waste program, Mr. Espen said.

He described it as the most drastic measure I ve seen from the Ohio EPA in his dealings with the agency.

He agreed, in retrospect, the agency may have been seeking negotiating leverage.

The Ohio EPA had been in deliberations with Waste Management for weeks over its unauthorized acceptance of hazardous waste at Evergreen, which is licensed only for nonhazardous household waste.

The violations included taking in 21,368 tons of contaminated soil from Delta Fuels and 3,000 gallons of sludge from S-K Handtool of Defiance, Ms. Pierce said.

The soil was evacuated from a Nov. 25, 2005, spill involving 103,000 gallons of gasoline at an East Toledo petroleum terminal owned by Delta Fuels, Inc., of Novi, Mich. Benzene and other harsh chemicals were embedded in the soil.

About 1,000 truckloads of the dirt were transported to the facility between Dec. 15, 2005, and Jan. 13, according to the order.

Beth Schmucker, Waste Management spokesman, said the company is committed to operating Evergreen in an environmentally sound manner.

We take that seriously, she said.

Company officials would certainly be more than happy than to sit down and address any concerns [Mr. Espen] has, she added.

Ms. Schmucker said the violations involving Delta Fuels and S-K Handtool are partly generator responsibility.

She said Waste Management will abide by the Ohio EPA s order. That situation has been resolved, and we re ready to move on.

The Ohio EPA will get $46,040 of the fines. Waste Management will pay $9,884 to state agency s Clean Diesel School Bus program, to retrofit school buses.

The rest will go to public outreach and education, Ms. Pierce said.



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