Negley area residents have a message for other states and Canada: "We are not your dump."
More than 100 Middleton Township residents gathered Thursday night to voice their opposition to the proposed expansion of a construction debris landfill operated by Total Waste Logistics.
While the hearing was actually regarding the company's isolated wetlands permit application, affected residents took the opportunity to raise their concerns over the landfill's proposal to triple in size with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials in attendance. Company officials are seeking to increase the total area of the landfill and increase the amount of fillable land from 51 acres to 153 acres.
Residents speaking at the hearing expressed many valid reasons for being concerned about the landfill's expansion proposal, most focusing on worries of groundwater contamination. Others also alleged violations are already being committed by the company.
After the many problems experienced and horrible odor which plagued residents living near the A&L Salvage construction debris landfill south of Lisbon for years and how long it took to get that facility shut down despite numerous EPA violations, it's no wonder Columbiana Countians are leery of any landfill operating within our county.
An OEPA official in attendance admitted that part of the problem is that Ohio laws are less restrictive against construction demolition debris landfills than they are against solid waste landfills.
Ohio House Bill 397, which became law in 2006, gave the Ohio EPA and county health boards broader powers to control construction debris waste, but apparently it didn't go far enough.
"Did we get perfect laws? No ... I don't like it," Dan Osterfeld, who works with the OEPA's division of surface water.
We urge Middleton residents to continue this battle, but don't stop with the EPA. Get after the Ohio General Assembly to beef up the C&D landfill regulations, too. There's no reason why anyplace in Columbiana County should become a dumping ground for other states.