WAUSEON — Although the Fulton County landfill has been closed since 1981, it is releasing leachate, at a rate of about 10,000 gallons a week.
Leachate is generated from liquids in waste in a landfill and can pose both environmental and public health concerns.
Because of several issues, including, but not entirely concerning the continuous release of leachate from the site, county commissioners are considering development of their own wastewater treatment plant.
Leachate from the 35 acres of the onetime landfill — on the southeast corner of County Road F and County Road 9 in York Township — is not unusual, said Ziad Musallam, county public utilities director.
“The decomposition of the material within the landfil generates some liquids,” he said, adding that it is typical for the inactive landfill to “still continue to generate leachate.”
He said the leachate quantity also varies by the season. In the summer and winter, rain and snow saturate the ground, which increases the moisture level.
Representatives from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency investigated the landfill in 1989, 1991, twice in 1996, three times in 2000 and in 2002, and “found evidence of releases of contaminants from the landfill site to an unnamed tributary of Dry Creek,” according to records from the Ohio EPA.
Mr. Musallam said even though the landfill has been closed for more than 30 years, there is always “postclosure maintenance.”
The leachate discharge is typically collected from the landfill and discharged directly into the village of Delta’s wastewater treatment plant. But Delta is no longer willing to accept the leachate because of high ammonia levels.
“The village asked us not to discharge because of a potential to upset the treatment process.
For the meanwhile, the county commissioners want to move forward with creating a wastewater treatment facility,” Mr. Musallam said.
To ensure proper disposal, the leachate must be treated before it is released back into the water, he said.
A new wastewater treatment facility could treat 600,000 gallons of wastewater a day. Mr. Musallam said the plant wouldn’t process only leachate.
“The leachate would be one of the users of the facilities,” he said. He expects that some grant money and loans might be able to pay for such an operation, which could cost upward of $7 million to build.
North Star BlueScope Steel, an international steel manufacturer, and Worthington Steel, a metal processing company, both near Delta, have indicated interest in using such a plant for processing water as it may help reduce their cost.
But Mr. Musallam said advancing the project depends on finding money. Once that hurdle is crossed, it would take about 18 months to build a treatment plant.
“That includes the design, the permitting process, and the construction,” he said.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6522 or on Twitter @KMcBlade.