Piketon City Councilman, Dennis Foreman does not agree with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s (OEPA) intent to approve what he termed ‘an expansion permit’ despite what he says is widely opposed by Pike County residents. Foreman alleges odors of gas coming from the landfill are one big reason for the opposition of himself and others to any expansion of the landfill.
“They don’t need to do it,” Foreman stated. “It’s a business decision.”
Gayane Makaryan, Rumpke East Area Communications Manager, described Rumpke as a family owned operation in business since 1932.
“We are committed to environmental compliance, exceptional customer service and being a good neighbor,” Makaryan wrote. “We understand the community has gone through a lot in the past, and we understand that our neighbors have questions about Rumpke or any organization doing business in their community. They rightfully want to know how their community is being impacted.”
As most are likely aware, ongoing construction of what proponents describe as an on-site waste disposal facility on the property of the long closed Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant continues to attract lots of opposition in Pike and Scioto counties. Foreman is among one of the more outspoken opponents of that facility.
In his email, Makaryan specifically notes Rumpke does not now and will not in the future accept any radioactive or hazardous materials. He added the company in fact has no facilities dealing with hazardous wastes.
While he did not mention any odor complaints specifically, Makaryan stated his company recently installed a flare system designed to burn off excess methane gas, which is commonly produced by any landfill and very likely the culprit behind any odor complaints regarding the Pike County facility.
Makaryan further said Rumpke is in the process of installing a second flare system.
“The system upgrade is designed to reduce odors at the site,” the spokesman continued.
According to Makaryan, his company submitted a permit to install (PTI) modification to comply with requirements of an OEPA order issued in 2003. The consent order required landfill floor design to correctly handle leachate, which is water or any liquid that comes into contact with waste inside any landfill. Makaryan said the state directed Rumpke ensure leachate does not enter a certain sump pump system at the site. The company also redesigned the landfill grading plan to maximize the volume of the landfill without expanding its current footprint.
Makaryan added the company decided to stop accepting scrap tires for disposal at the site, a move he said means Rumpke now has space inside the landfill initially set aside for scrap tires it instead now wants to use for municipal solid waste.
Finally, Makaryan said the firm requested an increase in the amount of waste the facility is legally allowed to accept on a daily basis. He claimed this move was done so trash volume reaching the Pike County facility matches another company landfill approximately 30 miles east in Jackson County.
“This was done to provide backup disposal for each landfill,” Makaryan stated.
Makaryan insisted there are no immediate plans to increase the volume of trash or traffic reaching the Pike Sanitation Landfill. However, he added with anticipated future population growth in mind it made sense to adjust the Pike County fill’s permits. Makaryan denied an assertion by Foreman any new permit would allow the company the option to accept trash from out of state or out of the country. He said Rumpke has, in fact, always had that option and further, that option was in place before the company took over the landfill.
“The landfill also serves as an essential function of the local community and the surrounding region,” Makaryan continued. “There are many jobs and economic benefits associated with the landfill. A landfill in the vicinity ensures low cost disposal for residents and businesses and tipping fees that support environmental education and government general funds.”
In an email sent to the OEPA, Foreman requested information on a possible appeal process if and when Rumpke wins approval of its modified PTI. An OEPA spokesman said information would be provided on where the modified PTI stands in regard to the approval process and supply details on a potential appeal. However, that information did not arrive before the Daily Times’ press time.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.