EAST PALESTINE - Resident John Herbert, who has assisted local fish farmer D. Scott Wallace with studying how the expansion would affect the environment, said the village should oppose the expansion of the demolition and debris landfill owned by Total Waste Logistics (TWL), a Penn-Ohio facility.
The 53-acre landfill is located just north of Negley and the company plans to increase its size by roughly 102 acres. It is designed to hold debris from demolition, such as old drywall, and the company ships that debris in from other states.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) approved the expansion in May, to the dismay of Herbert and Wallace, who sought support from East Palestine and Middleton Township residents to stop the project.
Herbert told village council on Monday that he heard the company intends to change the landfill from demolition and debris to solid waste and that he is especially concerned about Negley's water supply, which would be affected regardless of which route the company takes.
If the company moves forward as a solid waste landfill the odor and pollution will effect East Palestine, he said.
It is not the first time talk has surfaced that the company may move away from demolition and debris. In July Wallace indicated TWL may be seeking a permit change through the OEPA, but a spokesman with the agency said the company had not applied.
Councilman Fran Figley said he didn't believe the company was seeking the change, and if so, it likely wouldn't go through.
"I don't think you'll ever get a garbage dump there. It will take an act of Congress to get a garbage dump there," he said.
Councilman Don Elzer said he had also heard the company was seeking to change to solid waste. He and council members Ellen Beagle and Alan Cohen and Municipal Attorney Shirley Smith agreed that the village shouldn't formally oppose the project unless Middleton Township trustees do the same.
"When Middleton resolves to do something we will resolve to back them up," Mayor Margo Zuch told Herbert.
Herbert pointed out Negley is receiving money from the landfill through tipping fees and indicated that could be why trustees have not opposed the project.
On Wednesday, Middleton Township Trustee Eldena Gearhart said she had also heard, but could not confirm, that the company intended to change to solid waste. She said she has yet to hear from a company or EPA official regarding any change in plans.
"If it is true they are going to do solid waste (we) will actively fight that," she said.
The board has not taken any formal action against the landfill at this point, although they have publicly aired their concerns about the expansion. The trustees have also expressed their concerns to TWL employees and have kept in contact with the OEPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources regarding the project.
Mike Settles, OEPA media relations coordinator, said Thursday the agency has not received any formal application or request from TWL to convert the landfill from construction demolition and debris to solid waste.