Jefferson County Still Dealing with Landfill Odors in Amsterdam

Jefferson County commissioners on Thursday received a response from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency concerning a letter the commissioners sent about the Apex Landfill outside Amsterdam.

The letter brought a response from Craig Petrella, Apex safety manager, who said employees at the landfill are being “picked on,” and the landfill is using the best available technology to control odors.

Holly Tucker, agency Southeast District Office chief, said the agency required the landfill to have an odor management plan as part of the March permit modification for the landfill’s expansion. The plan included best-practice technology to control odors, including expansion of gas collection, routine odor monitoring and a third-party odor hotline, Tucker said.

She said the Ohio EPA works closely with the county health department, which is approved to administer and enforce Ohio’s solid waste rules and regulations. The health department performs quarterly inspections of the landfill and routine odor monitoring, she said. The health department issued a notice of violation following its March 28 odor monitoring and has issued notices of compliance following four odor monitoring events since that time, Tucker said.

“Ohio EPA is committed to serving the citizens living near the Apex Landfill. At this time, neither Ohio EPA or the health department have documented nuisance conditions, but will remain vigilant in our oversight,” Tucker said.

Commissioners sent a letter to the OEPA after residents complained about odors.

Petrella said the landfill is using the best available technology to control odors and regulators have been at the landfill monitoring odors.

“We felt we are being picked on as employees and residents of Jefferson County,” Petrella said. “We are doing everything we are supposed to do.”

Commissioner Thomas Graham said residents have a right to complain about the odors.

“You may be in accordance with the law, but people have a right to complain,” he said.

The commissioners noted they want to be a working partner with Apex.

Commissioner David Maple said he didn’t understand Petrella’s claim that the commissioners are against the workers. He said residents have been complaining about the landfill for 10 years, adding commissioners have no regulatory authority over the landfill.

Commissioner Tom Gentile said he had been lied to by prior owners at the landfill about the time the garbage is sitting in railroad cars awaiting delivery to the facility and the installation of a methane gas recovery system.

“The new owners may now be trying to (use) the best technology but it doesn’t erase the past,” he said.

In other matters, commissioners received the animal shelter report for May, showing 70 dogs were brought to the shelter, 11 dogs were returned and 35 were adopted. No dogs were euthanized. There were 16 reports of dog bites, and there were 14 humane society cases.