Friday, July 27, 2001

Charges urged against operator

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has asked the Ohio attorney general to initiate criminal charges and civil action against a Butler County landfill operator for allegedly violating hazardous-waste disposal regulations.

[photo] Criminal and civil charges have been urged against the Schlichter landfill, south of Hamilton, and its operator, Terry Baer, because of alleged hazardous-waste violations.
(Michael Snyder photo)
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        The OEPA is also urging Attorney General Betty Montgomery's office to file contempt charges against Schlichter Hauling and Disposal Services Ltd. for failing to pay a $40,000 fine levied by the state in August 1999 for waste-disposal violations, said Stephanie Beougher, spokeswoman for Ms. Montgomery's office.

        Township Administrator Ron Randolph said a complaint was filed in 1999 against the company and its operator, Terry Baer. Mr. Baer bought the business and leases the landfill along Ohio 128 between Ross and Hamilton.

        Mr. Randolph said the company is licensed to accept construction and demolition materials but, since the complaint, inspectors have reported finding prohibited materials, among them asbestos and paint. He said OEPA gave him a cleanup estimate of $200,000.

        Mr. Randolph said the aquifer below the landfill has been monitored by the county's wellhead protection program, and no evidence has been found of contamination.

        Jack Grove, attorney for Elfreda Schlichter, former owner of the landfill, said the operation voluntarily was closed in the late 1980s, reopened in 1992 and leased to Mr. Baer in 1997. OEPA recommended reopening it for disposal of construction and demolition debris, and to cap it eventually for future recreational or religious use.

        Since then, Mr. Baer and his company have been embroiled in a series of lawsuits as charges involving nonpayment of debts and environmental-violation issues.

        Sylvan Reisenfeld, attorney for Schlichter Hauling, said several near-emply paint cans and some asbestos recently has been brought to the site, but the material has been stored apart from the landfill behind a loading zone.

        Two $6,000 payments on a 1999 consent agreement were paid, but Mr. Baer stopped payments in March before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. All assets were frozen, preventing payments from being made, Mr. Reisenfeld said.

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