Posted: 10:56 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

Warren County files lawsuit against compost operation


Warren County files lawsuit against compost operation photo
Jeff Benson and Tina O’Sullivan are concerned over the smell emitting from their neighbor, Marvin Duren’s, organic recycling center. Warren County commissioners have now filed a lawsuit asking a judge to require Duren to file a site plan for his composting operation on U.S. 42 in Turtlecreek Twp.
Warren County files lawsuit against compost operation photo
Marvin Duren, owner of Marvin’s Organic Gardens, is working on a site plan with consultants now, according to Duren’s attorney, Joe Borchelt.

By Denise G. Callahan

Staff Writer


Warren County commissioners have filed a lawsuit asking a judge to require Marvin Duren and his wife, Ann, to file a site plan for their composting operation on U.S. 42 in Turtlecreek Twp.

County Administrator Dave Gully said the county became aware the Durens were operating the facility when neighbors complained of the horrible stench.

Tina and Kevin O’Sullivan complained to the Ohio EPA after they returned home in April to find a heavy fecal odor throughout their home, built in 1880.

“My whole house stunk,” Tina O’Sullivan said, adding the smell also affected their business, the Southwest Golf Ranch, north on U.S. 42, from their home and the compost center.

The OEPA has been out to Duren’s operation several times since the O’Sullivans complained, and spokeswoman Heather Lauer said Duren has made strides in the stench department.

“We’ve been out, we’ve done inspections. It’s improving,” Lauer said. “They have noted different violations, they’ve talked to him and it gets better. Every time they go it gets better.”

The commissioners’ lawsuit asks the judge to require Duren to deal with the stench and file a proper site plan. It also says that Duren accepting solid waste — from the Cincinnati Zoo — is not permitted within the zoning classification, among other issues.

“He needs to submit a final development plan for his operations,which is typical of landfills,” he said. “He can’t use his entire property for landfilling and he can’t buy new property and expand his operation onto that property, so that eventually he has 600 acres like Rumpke (in Colerain Twp.) has. He can’t do that. He has to submit a plan showing exactly what he’s going to do and where he’s going to do it… He thought his EPA permit was the same as a zoning permit I guess.”

Duren’s attorney, Joe Borchelt, said his client is working on the site plan with consultants now and is working to make everyone happy.

“Since this lawsuit was filed, my understanding is that in order to truly comply and try and remedy every single thing that the county wants remedied, he has stopped accepting some deliveries,” he said. “He is saying, hey, I want to cooperate and do everything I can.”

Meanwhile, Duren has settled a lawsuit filed by a Clermont County farmer who claimed Duren sold him 500 yards of tainted compost. Thesuit also included a dispute over some computer equipment. Borchelt said he couldn’t divulge the amount of the settlement.


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