Thursday, October 17, 2002

EPA session tonight on Bigfoot II

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MORROW - The dispute surrounding a proposed landfill 1.5 miles northwest of Morrow may heat up tonight when the public voices its concerns to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio EPA engineers and officials will be at the South Lebanon Community Center at 7 p.m. answering questions about the proposed Bigfoot Run II landfill.

What: Public information session to comment on Browning-Ferris Industries' permit-to-install application for the proposed Bigfoot Run II landfill
Where: South Lebanon Community Center, 10 N. High St., in South Lebanon.
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Browning-Ferris Industries, now owned by Arizona-based Allied Waste Inc., applied for a permit to install the landfill in 1998. It's located on a hilly area next to Bigfoot Run I landfill, which closed and was capped in May 1999.

The proposed 59-acre landfill would accept up to 3,000 tons daily of non-hazardous waste. Comparatively, the Rumpke landfill in Hamilton County takes in an average of 6,000-8,000 tons daily, said Heather Lauer, Ohio EPA spokeswoman.

"If people have questions or opinions on it, it's better for us to talk to them rather than them hear it through the grapevine," she said. "This is not the hearing phase. This is a phase that we're trying to educate the public at what's being asked for."

If the Ohio EPA issues a draft permit, the public would have at least 30 days to review it before a formal public hearing is held.

But before any action is taken, BFI must address more than 96 points of concern the EPA listed on its notice of deficiency, Ms. Lauer said.

"If there is one thing on the notice of deficiency that is not answered to our satisfaction, then the permit doesn't go forward," she said. "At that point, we can continue to work with the company to try to address that or the company can withdraw the application."

BFI's attorney, C. Francis Barrett, said the company has already started addressing many of these concerns.

If approved, this would be the only landfill in Warren County. Haulers who contract for municipal and private pickup have been taking the trash to other dumps in the region.

The proposed Bigfoot II landfill also is being disputed in the judicial system.

An appeal is pending before the 12th District Court regarding a Warren County judge's November ruling that said the county commissioners' refusal to rezone the area unconstitutionally denied BFI "any economically viable use" of the land.

Mr. Barrett did not know when to expect a ruling.

At tonight's meeting, the focus will be on the permit-to-install. Among those in attendance will be members of the Morrow Environmental Preservation Association.

They are concerned that heavy rains would wash waste downhill and into the Little Miami River. There's also concern that the new site would be too close to some houses.

"They get these permits now, but in 15 or 20 years, what kind of problems are we going to have with the water supply?" said MEPA chairwoman Ruth MacKenzie.


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