Montgomery County is exploring the possibility of sending less of its waste to the Stony Hollow Landfill after hundreds of odor complaints about the site over the past several months. STAFF

Foul landfill smell problems have Montgomery County looking at options

Montgomery County is looking into reducing or stopping the transfer of solid waste it sends to a Dayton landfill that’s been the focus of odor complaints from nearby communities for several months.

Hundreds of complaints from Kettering, Moraine, Oakwood, West Carrollton, and Jefferson and Miami townships for several months about odors from the Stony Hollow Landfill have the county officials exploring the possibility and the financial implications of hauling more - or all - of its solid waste to a Logan County facility.

“We are very concerned about the continuing issues that citizens in Montgomery County and citizens in the jurisdictions that are part of the solid waste district are experiencing with regard to the odors,” county Administrator Joe Tuss said.

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The county’s study of the issue comes when Stony Hollow has made “significant” progress in controlling odors its emissions, Frank Fello, a Waste Management senior manager, told officials last month.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said orders and deadlines it established for Stony Hollow late last year have been complied with. Since those actions – including the installation of a 13.5-acre cap system – the frequency and intensity of the odors has declined, Fello said.

But Tuss said “whether the odors have been reduced in their intensity or their number of occurrences, the fact of the matter is we are still experiencing odor complaints and odor issues. And those are not something that we can continue to accept as a community.”

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Aside from its contract with Stony Hollow, owned by Waste Management, officials said the county also has an agreement with Republic Services, which owns the Cherokee Run Landfill. At least two-thirds of the county’s waste is hauled to the Bellefontaine site, Tuss said.

The county’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee last month asked staff to look whether Republic could accept more waste at Cherokee Run and the financial feasibility of the move. The committee – which represents more 20 jurisdictions in the county – also asked staff to start a competitive bidding process as its contract with Stony Hollow expires in mid-2018, county Environmental Services Director Pat Turnbull said.

The SWAC is schedule to consider the county’s findings at a special meeting Feb. 16, officials said.

“I do think that Waste Management is trying to correct the situation,” said SWAC Chairman Dick Church Jr., Miamisburg’s mayor. “But – in my mind – the more we keep taking trash there, it’s not really going to be that good of an incentive to get it corrected in a quick fashion.”

The committee’s action stems from a request from Moraine City Manager David Hicks, whose city has fielded the vast majority of the odor complaints lodged about Stony Hollow since last spring. It’s also a Moraine resident who filed a class-action lawsuit against Stony Hollow, claiming the facility’s “negligence” of containing its odor emissions has impacted property values in the city.

The lawsuit was filed less than a week after Dayton barred the landfill from discharging waste into the city’s system. Dayton’s action came an crews cleaning up an overflowing sewer near Stony Hollow were overcome and sought medical attention.

Dayton then launched an investigation that is still ongoing, according to the city.

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Church said he thinks the committee should take action “quickly.”

“Our biggest concern are the people in that area that are encountering all of the odors coming from the site,” he said.

“Even though we may not have control over the Stony Hollow Landfill per se, I think we as a committee – and as a region – really need to address the situation,” Church added.

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