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Health board plan to monitor odors

January 18, 2012
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Health on Tuesday approved an odor monitoring plan for the Apex Landfill site and authorized the health department sanitarians to issue notice of violations when odor is detected above a Level 2 threshold.

The board also approved allowing the sanitarians to work overtime after business hours and on the weekends to monitor odor from the landfill.

"We have closed a circle around the landfill with monitoring points that will be checked on a daily basis," announced Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz.

Health Department Sanitarian Mark Maragos said the sanitarian staff will have a weather station to check wind speeds and direction at each site.

"It will take us approximately four hours to circle the landfill general area and to check each designated spot," said Maragos.

"The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will be at the site once a week monitoring odors and we won't work there when the OEPA is there. We will be checking close to the landfill while the OEPA will be checking as far as they can smell odors. The OEPA did send a notice of violation last week because they could detect odors above the Level 2," said Misselwitz.

"Our plan closely follows the OEPA plan and we will continue until March 31 when Apex is mandated by the OEPA to have an odor control program in place," added Misselwitz.

Board member Dale Featheringham said he could smell odor from the landfill when he was traveling on state Route 7 Saturday morning.

"It was putrid. It was really putrid," said Featheringham.

Fritz Tulencik of the Tri-County Concerned Citizens said he is seeing progress on a monitoring plan, "but absolutely no progress on stopping or controlling the odors."

"To allow the landfill six weeks to correct a notice of violation is embarrassing. Residents affected by the landfill odors are now suffering from nausea, dizzy spells, sore throats, light headiness and headaches. It is not getting any better," stated Tulencik.

The health board approved a 2012 operating license for Apex on Dec. 30 but Misselwitz said the board can rescind or revoke that license at any time before March 31, "if the odor problems are not corrected."

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency announced on Dec. 21 it had reached an agreement with the Apex Sanitary Landfill that included the installation of a methane gas collection system by Dec. 31 and the payment of a nearly $36,000 civil penalty fine.

The agency also requiring the landfill to reduce receiving solid waste material as well as construction and demolition debris from 7,500 tons a day to 6,500 tons a day, "until odors have been abated for an extended period of time and the OEPA discontinues the limit or issues related orders."

The agreement required Apex to install a horizontal collector along the eastern and western side of the landfill in order to control odors.

The landfill also must provide the OEPA with results of leachate or water that has come into contact with solid waste material taken from the sump pumps closest to an October outbreak by Jan. 15.

And the agreement requires the landfill operators to submit a proposed plan for the expansion of the landfill gas capture, collection and control system to maximize odor control by Feb. 1 and Aug. 1 every year following the settlement until terminated by the OEPA.

The landfill also is required to submit to the state EPA a report that analyzes correlations between the types of waste received by Apex, methods of accepting the waste, landfill control logs, daily operating logs and the Apex odor complaint database.

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