Rumpke landfill expansion opposed

By Tom Corrigan - [email protected]

Piketon City Councilman Dennis Foreman is sounding the alarm regarding what he feels is the impending approval by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency of a permit allowing the Rumpke landfill outside the Piketon Village limits to expand its tonnage capacity.

Foreman told the Daily Times there is no pressing need for the landfill to increase its capacity.

“They don’t need to do it,” Foreman stated. “It’s a business decision.”

Foreman added the state EPA held a little advertised and little attended public meeting on the request recently. He said he and a few other local officials spoke against increasing the landfill’s capacity but added OEPA officials did not seem to take the complaints to heart and feels the Cincinnati-based company’s request will win approval. Foreman contends the Rumpke landfill, which serves as a regional fill taking trash from Scioto County among other areas, has been the subject of numerous odor complaints. According to Foreman, during the recent OEPA hearing acting Pike County Sheriff Jim Nelson told the OEPA of complaints his office received.

“My community is out raged because our town smells like gas and we are sick by the thought that our rights are being violated,” Foreman wrote in an email to the Daily Times.

In an email sent OEPA, and shared with the Daily Times, Foreman asked an OEPA spokesperson about any formal process in place to appeal any permit granted. In an email to Foreman, OEPA spokesperson Jessica Johnson seemingly did not respond directly to Foreman’s question.

“I have sent your comments to our Division of Materials and Waste Management to be accepted as public comment regarding the permit application for the site,” Johnson wrote. She made no mention of any appeal process.

An attempt to reach Johnson by phone for further comment was unsuccessful Monday. A call to Rumpke’s offices also went unreturned.

According to Foreman, if OEPA approves the permit, Rumpke will have the right to accept trash from out of state or even from out of the country.

“It’s going to be a mountain, a mountain of trash,” Foreman said, adding allowing additional tonnage to reach the landfill also means additional trucks and traffic reaching the landfill. Foreman contends landfill trucks already damage county roads.

According to Foreman, southern Ohio is becoming a dumping ground for Ohio and even surrounding states.

“It’s becoming a pattern with the EPA to take advantage of Appalachian Ohio,” Foreman said.

Foreman long has been an especially vocal opponent of ongoing construction of an on-site waste disposal facility at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. OEPA long ago approved a record of decision allowing the disposal site on the property of the defunct Department of Energy plant. State and DOE officials have continued to resist attempts by Foreman and others to reopen the record of decision regarding the on-site waste facility.

DOE officials along with the private contractor completing decommissioning and deconstruction of the long closed plant say the disposal facility is the cheapest and easiest way to dispose of debris and other materials generated as the plant is demolished and will add to vacant land available for redevelopment. Foreman and other opponents describe the disposal cell as a “radioactive waste dump” certain to stymie any attempts to redevelop plant property or property surrounding the plant.

By Tom Corrigan

[email protected]

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.