STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Health delayed a decision on the Apex Sanitary Landfill 2013 operating license until the board's legal counsel researches possible legal restrictions regarding a new solidification process at the facility near Amsterdam.
Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz informed the board Tuesday the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency have approved a solidification process at the landfill site that will allow oil drill cuttings to be transported to a new facility where ingredients will be added to the oil well material.
According to Misselwitz, after the drill cuttings go through the solidification process, the end product will be taken to the actual landfill.
"I believe the final product will be OK. What is coming out of the ground is naturally occurring radioactive. The cuttings will be tested at the drill site before it is taken to the landfill for solidification," explained health department Sanitarian Carla Gampola.
"The OEPA is telling us that we have to monitor the solidification process. And the JB Green Team has said they will give us funding for the testing," added Misselwitz.
"The OEPA and Ohio Department of Health were working on this project before we were ever made aware of the solidification project. And I still have concerns. I think an independent company should do the testing at the landfill," said board member Dale Featheringham.
The board agreed to delay a final decision on the 2013 operating license until a later date.
The health board approved 2013 operating licenses for the residual landfills at the Hollow Rock and Cardinal plant landfills.
In other business Tuesday, several board members expressed concerns regarding a possible partnership with the Steubenville Health Department.
"The city health board has sent us a letter requesting discussions on the collaboration of services. We do share services with the city. We also already have a memorandum of understanding to support each other on plumbing and sewer issues. Our nursing divisions also support each other. Steubenville is a charter city with the health department included in their charter. Any agreement between the two health departments has to be done between the District Advisory Council and the City Council," stated Misselwitz.
"I will respond to their letter, but this is unique because it is a charter city. If we consider a consolidation that would require both departments to dissolve and a new health department would be created. There is no short-term answers here. There are also different issues to discuss including the different pay scales and different benefits," Misselwitz added.
"I have questions on how it will affect our department," noted board member John Fabian.
"I don't want us to take on more than we can handle. I am concerned we may take on more than we can handle. And where do the city vendor fees go under a partnership," remarked board member John Abdalla.
Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta said she will proceed with contempt of court charges against James Wellington and Jennifer St. Clair for maintaining an illegal dump site at their property on state Route 152 in Toronto.
Gampola said she visited the property last week and spoke to St. Clair.
"She could not provide me with any receipts showing they are moving the trash to the Apex landfill," said Gampola.
Misselwitz reported he attended a facility oversight health department and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Focus meeting Monday in Delaware, Ohio.
"House Bill 592 was discussed and we heard suggestions to the effect all landfill tipping fees should be sent to the local health department and the health department will then share the fees with the local solid waste authority," Misselwitz said.