Winton Hills residents, who just reached a $2 million settlement with ELDA owners, have announced that they will oppose the company's plans for a transfer station during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday. The hearing is being held by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) to gather input on the draft permit it has issued to Waste Management of Ohio.
The company plans to locate the transfer facility about 1,200 feet southwest of the Este Avenue/Center Hill Road intersection, adjacent to the landfill. The landfill was closed last year when Waste Management was unable to meet new, more stringent environmental standards.
The landfill's closure followed years of complaints from residents, which included questionable health symptoms that residents linked with pollutants coming from the landfill.
In its recent settlement with residents, Waste Management agreed to pay for landfill studies and health exams for neighbors.
Cincinnati health officials, who, once the station receives final OEPA approval, will have to license the station, have told the media that the closed landfill and the transfer station are two separate issues.
The station as proposed is expected to be used to transfer garbage from compactor trucks to larger, over-the-road vehicles. The draft permit would allow the company to transfer up to 1,500 tons a day, which, possibly, could mean up to 200 trucks driving into the station daily.
Is the OEPA taking into consideration that -- given the 10-year battle they have fought against pollution in their neighborhood -- it's possible that these residents and their neighborhood have had enough?
"We are a regulatory agency," said OEPA spokeswoman Lynne Barst. "We don't make up the laws."
Under the laws, Waste Management is entitled to apply for a permit and show whether it can meet the standards, she said. The residents, however, should be aware that the OEPA director does have some latitude in making a decision when it comes to social and economic impact. So residents, she said, need to be sure to register their comments, either at the hearing, at the Winton Terrace Community Center at 5170 Winneste Ave., or by mailing them to the OEPA Division of Solid and Infectious Waste, Systems Management Unit, PO Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio, 43216-1049.