COLERAIN TWP — “The company and residents agree that odor has increased since a disruption began on the north end of the landfill in 2009. The company says there was a “reaction” 100 feet below the surface. It’s not a fire, Rumpke says, and they don’t know what caused it.
‘It’s not a fire as most people think of a fire,’ says Melissa English of Ohio Citizens Action, a group that has fought Rumpke’s attempts to expand the landfill. ‘It’s a thermal reaction consuming material and leaving instability in the waste pile.’
…English calls it ‘an attempt to mask the odor because they can’t solve the problem. Will it work? I don’t know.
‘The community is upset because they’re not addressing the problem and that’s the best idea they can throw at it,’ English says.
Without a way to stop the reaction from causing the smell, Rumpke says adding more odor neutralizer is the best they can do.”
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a public hearing at 6:30pm on April 2 to accept public comments on Rumpke’s request to increase by 300% the deodorizer it uses to mask odors from the landfill. Rich McVay, Rumpke neighbor and president of Property Owners Want Equal Rights, urges his neighbors to turn out for the hearing. He connects the ongoing underground fire at the site with a 400% increase in odor complaints, which has led to the plan to increase deodorizer use. In a recent notice he remarked, “ During the summer of 2012, a new form of this same deodorizer was introduced at the landfill. Since this introduction a number of people have reported they have experienced skin rash or breathing issues which may be the result of this deodorizer.” The hearing will be held at the Colerain Township Community Center, 4200 Springdale Rd.
– Melissa K. English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
Rumpke uses emitters like this one to release an odor-reducing chemical at its Colerain Township landfill.
CINCINNATI — “Rumpke wants to change its deodorant, but it needs a permit to make the switch.
Amanda Pratt, spokeswoman for the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill, says the new odor suppression spray requires that the company apply for a new permit because the spray will increase the amount of emissions into the air at the Colerain Township landfill.
…The OEPA said in the permit documentation that Rumpke is a high-profile facility, and the permit should be issued in draft form first, due to probable public concern. A decision on issuing a final permit-to-install will be made after comments are received and a public hearing if one is conducted.Colerain Township resident Rich McVay, the new president of Property Owners Want Equal Rights, known as POWER, a citizens advocacy group, says a public hearing could clear the air. He is considering making a request to the OEPA for a public hearing.”
CINCINNATI — “Rumpke Consolidated Cos. Inc. will receive $32 million in government financing for a new recycling plant to replace one severely damaged by fire in April.
The financing is the first such deal ever authorized for a recycling facility by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority. It approved issuance of up to $32 million in federally tax-exempt facility bonds.”
Rich McVay, Property Owners Want Equal Rights (P.O.W.E.R.)
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — The battle to halt the expansion of the Rumpke Landfill continues and we are seeking your help. First an introduction, my name is Rich McVay and I have been a resident of Colerain Township for over 22 years.
To give you an idea of where I stand on the matter of the landfill expansion, I have attached a talk I shared with the Trustees on September 11, 2012. I firmly believe the decision to stand firm and not expand the Rumpke Dump is the most important decision Trustees Deters, Rinehart and Ritter will ever make.
As you know, the Ohio Supreme Court has denied the assertion by Rumpke that they are a public utility and should not be bound by the Colerain Township Land Use Plan and Zoning Laws and remanded the case back to the Judge Ralph Winkler of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas. You may recall that Judge Winkler made the initial ruling that Rumpke was a public utility and free to expand or startup up a dump any-where it owns the land. To date Trustees Deters, Rinehart and Ritter have refused to comment on the status of the case citing “the matter is in litigation.” One must assume, Trustees Deters, Rinehart and Ritter are considering an option of allowing the dump to expand in return for some “favor” to the Township since they have not shared their intent with residents. I am sure you all agree, the expansion of the Rumpke Landfill , a decision that would permit operation well into the mid part of the 21st century, is not in the best interests of Colerain Township Residents. To that end, I am asking you to make a public statement about your interest in denying the Rumpke Landfill expansion!
You may have read in the North West Press that Trustees Deters, Rinehart and Ritter are going to hold a Town Hall Meeting at the Colerain Township Administrative Center on November 27th beginning at 5:30 to provide a status update on Rumpke and a preview of Township Finances. Representatives from the Hamilton County Health District, the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Rumpke will attend and residents can get information and ask questions about the chemical reaction and settling occurring at the north end of the landfill and odor control issues at the landfill.
We need your help now in these areas:
Let us know if you are interested in helping to continue the efforts to block the expansion of the dump by email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss next steps. We welcome your ideas and energy.
We need as many people as possible to attend the Town Hall Meeting on November 27 who will share their concerns about why expansion of the dump should not be allowed. Send me an email to let me know if you plan on attending the Town Hall Meeting by November 25, so we can coordinate speakers and other roles.
The Northwest Local School District School Closing Study Team recently recommended the closing of Bevis Elementary School due to declining enrollments (see attachment). The study team cites the primary reason for the closure of Bevis Elementary school is how close the school is to the dump. Northwest Local School District parents and administrators are now on record in declaring proximity to the dump is the reason they have recommended to shutter that school. These concerned parents and administrators obviously believe the dump presents a problem in continuing to operate that elementary school.
Once again, your active and immediate support is needed . We will only get “one bite of this apple” and now is the time to let Trustee Deters, Rinehart and Ritter understand cutting a deal and allowing the landfill to expand is not in the best long term interest of Colerain Township Residents. I look forward to hearing from you.
COLERAIN TWP — “Around two million tons of trash are brought into the Rumpke facility in Colerain Township every year.
However, that could eventually change after Wednesday’s ruling made by the Ohio Supreme Court. The Supreme Court stated that Rumpke is not a public utility and will have to abide by regular zoning laws in order to make its 206-acre expansion.
‘Oh this is great news,’ Development Director of Ohio Citizen Action Melissa English said. ‘By striking down Rumpke’s public utility claim, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the will of Colerain Township.’
English said it is time to start looking to other ways to dispose of the trash.
‘The answer with what to do with our garbage is not to expand our landfill, but to recover our waste stream to 50 to 75 percent as other communities do,’ English said.
Rumpke Sanitary Landfill. The area to the right, bordered by the highway is the proposed expansion.
COLUMBUS — Today Ohio’s highest court ruled unanimously in favor of Colerain Township in their six-year-long battle with Rumpke Sanitary Landfill over a proposed 350 acre expansion. The ruling reverses a First District Court of appeals decision, which would have allowed Rumpke to claim exemption from local zoning authority as a public utility. The decision rests on the fact that the landfill is not subject to public regulation of its rates and charges, is not obligated by law or regulation to accept all solid waste delivered to it for disposal and the public does not have a right to demand and receive its services, all criteria which true public utilities meet. Rumpke brought the suit against Colerain Township in 2006 after their request to expand the landfill – already the sixth largest in the nation- was denied by the township’s zoning board. Originally, the suit also included the assertion that the zoning board’s decision was unconstitutional, claiming it was an illegal prohibition of how the company may use its own land. The constitutionality issue was separated from the public utility claim by a lower court and now must be decided on its own merit.
— Melissa K. English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action.
COLUMBUS — Counsel for Colerain Township and for the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill gave oral arguments February 7 on the subject of whether or not the landfill should be designated a public utility and thus exempt from local zoning authority. All seven justices posed questions during the 38 minute hearing, many of them to clarify possible consequences of overturning a lower court’s decision to award the landfill public utility status and the powers of various agencies regulating the landfill. The Ohio Township Association, groups of Ohio townships, county commissioners and local solid waste management districts, and the State of Ohio have filed Amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs supporting the position of Colerain Township.
– Melissa K. English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Jane Prendergast is soliciting feedback from city residents about whether they recycle more, after having received larger recycling carts as part of the city’s improved curbside recycling program. It has been a year since most residents traded in their 18 gallon bins for 64 or 96 gallon wheeled carts with radio frequency identifier chips to track tons recycled by household. City of Cincinnati Office of Environmental Quality Director Larry Falkin reported that 71% of the city’s households were recycling by the end of 2011, up from 40% before the carts were distributed. This led to recovery of 17% of the city’s waste stream, and a savings of $930,731over the old program.
– Melissa K. English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
COLUMBUS — “Ohio’s debris landfills were unregulated for decades because the materials dumped in them — concrete, drywall and splintered lumber — were deemed harmless. But that’s changed for the 53 operating landfills, including five in central Ohio.
Problems arose after several landfills started taking millions of tons of debris from waste haulers as far away as New Jersey and New York. One site, Warren Recycling in Trumbull County, became notorious for underground fires and clouds of noxious hydrogen sulfide gas.
That landfill, which was closed in 2004, helped prompt state lawmakers to pass the 2005 water-monitoring law.
The Ohio EPA first proposed regulations in 2006 but withdrew them after industry officials complained that compliance would be too expensive.”
COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — In a brief filed yesterday in the Supreme Court of Ohio, Colerain Township laid out its latest arguments against the claim made by owners of the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill that it is a public utility. Rumpke’s claim rests on three arguments: 1) the essential nature of solid waste collection services; 2) the regional monopoly Rumpke has on providing those services and 3) its promise that it will stay open and provide those services. The township counters by saying that since privately owned landfills are not obliged by law to provide service, set rates in public hearings or offer uniform rates and service based on cost, they do not fit the definition of a public utility set by the Supreme Court of Ohio in previous case law.
The township further argues conditions do exist to declare as public utilities Ohio’s solid waste management districts, which were created to “reduce reliance on landfills for solid waste management”. The Hamilton County Solid Waste Management District, which oversees activity at Rumpke’s landfill, has adopted an open-market solid waste management plan, in which no single landfill is more important than any other. When Rumpke asked the District to “designate” its landfill and support their expansion proposal, the District declined. Attorneys for Colerain Township assert that this effort was an attempt to bring the landfill under the District’s public utility umbrella.
The Supreme Court of Ohio announced in July that it would hear Colerain Township’s final appeal of Rumpke’s designation as a public utility. No date has yet been set.
— Melissa K. English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
CINCINNATI — “Tom+Chee co-owner Corey Ward was baffled last year when a Rumpke representative told him they couldn’t supply recycling services to his grilled cheese and tomato soup shop on East Court Street.
‘Every beverage we serve comes in plastic or glass,’ Ward said. ‘We had customers asking if we recycled. We’d have to say ‘Sorry, we don’t.’
His team considered driving the reusable garbage to a public recycling drop-off near the Main Library. Then they learned about the Bar & Restaurant Recycling Program through the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District.
‘Rumpke does offer recycling,’ said Michelle Balz, community outreach coordinator who runs the waste district project. ‘But sometimes there’s a communication breakdown.’
So she walked Tom+Chee through the process of setting up recycling, and today the shop that started in a tent on Fountain Square (and found fame in the form of bacon grilled cheese sandwiches topped with BBQ chips and grilled cheese donuts) recycles enough plastic, glass and cardboard to fill a standard-sized six-person hot tub once a month.”
COLUMBUS — “Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a friend-of-the-court brief recently on behalf of Colerain Township, in their final appeal of the decision to declare the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill a public utility and allow its expansion. The brief was filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on October 11 and challenges Rumpke’s assertion that they provide a service that the public has a legal right to demand. Mr. DeWine further asserts that Rumpke should not be considered a public utility because no legal mechanism exists to ensure that Rumpke will provide services reasonably and without discrimination, pointing out that they could close the landfill at any time and customers would have no recourse . He advised the court to reverse the public utility decision “and rule that the permitting, licensing, and locating of solid waste facilities requires both State and local oversight.”
Trucks line up at the Rumpke landfill in Colerain Township.
COLERAIN TWP —”The Metropolitan Sewer District has told operators of the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill to stop pumping leachate from one area of the landfill into the sewer system.
The landfill is experiencing an underground reaction of some kind that is affecting the northern portion of the landfill. Since increased temperatures indicating the reaction were discovered two years ago, Rumpke and a number of agencies are monitoring the area of the landfill where the problem is centered. Leachate from the area of the Colerain Township landfill where the reaction is centered has a particularly pungent odor.
… Colerain Fire Department Division Chief Brad Miller is part of a group monitoring the subsurface reaction affecting the northern portion of the landfill. He said in a township report that the neighborhoods to the southeast of the landfill including those on Struble and Pottinger roads, Jack Frost Way and Windswept Drive have all noted the odor.
The monitoring group, which calls itself Team Rumpke, believes odor complaints are increasing because there is a larger volume of leachate – 120,000 to 180,000 gallons daily – moving through the sewer from the reaction area.
Amanda Pratt, spokeswoman for Rumpke, said the leachate from the reaction area has been leaving the landfill site with minimal treatment, and odor complaints have been on the rise. From July through September of 2010, there were 104 odor complaints, with nine possibly sewer-related. In the same period this year, there were 190 complaints and 31 were sewer-related.”
Trucks line up at the Rumpke landfill in Colerain Township. The Ohio Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal from Colerain Township in a case that resulted in the landfill being given status as a public utility. Cara Owsley/Staff
COLUMBUS — “Reversing a December decision, the Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear Colerain Township’s appeal of a decision that the Rumpke Landfill is a public utility.
The court announced today that it has accepted a discretionary appeal to hear the case filed by Colerain Township…
Trustee Joseph Wolterman agreed, saying a decision from the Ohio Supreme Court is in the best interest of all parties involved, particularly the residents of Colerain Township.
‘We need to know the legal standing of the township in this situation moving forward,’ he said. ‘Ultimately, this is a question that has to be answered.’
Ohio Citizens’ Action Director Melissa English said the decision is good news. ‘It’s possibly a game-changer,’ she said. ‘The precedent here was mind-boggling and we are pleased with the decision to reconsider.’”
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
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