Cincinnati, OH

Rules subcommittee for landfill oversight moves up meeting date

The Cincinnati Post

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Rumpke proceeds with demolishing asbestos laid home on Sand Run Road for landfillThe Cincinnati Post, 2021

Thanks to the efforts of our Board of Commissioners, residents dodged a poison pill that got lodged in our throats of progress when the Rules Subcommittee scheduled their meeting date for after Thanksgiving. Since the Solid Waste Policy Committee only meets every 2 months, this meant that the earliest that any action could occur would be mid-January. This would not bode well for those opposing expansion of the Whitewater landfill whether for environmental concerns or for quality of life matters. The objective of the subcommittee was to pose basic, first round rules that gave the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners the authority to oversee, limit, approve or deny any landfill operation within the county jurisdiction. The commissioners are attempting to get broad consensus on what, exactly, that looks like in rules form. At the commissioners urging and the support of 3 members of the Solid Waste Policy Committee, a subcommittee was formed to draft proposals on such rules.

However, the first meeting of the subcommittee resulted in a "brain dump." This is typical of the first meeting of any group wherein everyone is throwing in their 2 cents and discussing broad and varied topics. Unfortunately, nothing gets down when you're dealing with everything but the kitchen sink.

With a new meeting date of November 10th, that gives the subcommittee sufficient time to develop a structure on which to introduce rules and practices. The first rule, introduced by Sharon Lutz in cooperation with C.A.R.E., Oxbow, and Rivers Unlimited, as well as dozens of grass roots organizers, was introduced after the last meeting. It will be first on the agenda at the November 10th meeting - if everything stays on track and the subcommittee's attention isn't diverted to other matters that are less pressing than getting the commissioners the authority required to exercise their duties.

Meanwhile, Rumpke is moving forward with the construction of a new entrance onto Sand Run for their Whitewater operation. This new entrance will permit Rumpke to go from 1 truckload of trash per year, to 30n - 40 per day. Up to 400 tons per day, drastically changing the operational methods of the landfill. Once the new entrance is completed, Rumpke intends to install wheel washes and weight scales for the trucks. This changes the entire operation of the facility and the impact on the surrounding communities.

C.A.R.E. filed an appeal months ago with the Environmental Review Advisory Commission. That appeal is still pending. C.A.R.E. will be defending a motion to dismiss and a request for a stay to stop all progress on the project. However, C.A.R.E. does not believe they will withstand the claim due to a lack of standing. Whitewater Township. the Solid Waste Policy Committee, and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners are the "real party in interest" and bear the best defense against lack of standing claims. It will be an uphill battle, but that was expected.

Rumpke has proceeded to demolition on property adjacent to the proposed landfill's new entrance.

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