EPA orders to landfill set ‘legally-binding’ deadlines to address odors

Residents in neighboring communities have complained about the odors.

The Ohio EPA's orders for a Dayton landfill facing a lawsuit, a city investigation and hundreds of complaints from nearby communities involving odor issues is part of a deal that sets "legally-binding deadlines," according to the state agency.

The six actions “negotiated” with the Stony Hollow Landfill “require (owner) Waste Management to take immediate, short-term actions to minimize odors local residents have experienced the past several months, as well as notify and protect residents while the company is installing long-term solutions,” according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The “interim” orders are a “first step toward compliance” for the South Gettysburg Avenue site, according to the OEPA.

“Ohio EPA and Waste Management had been discussing entering findings and orders,” agency Spokeswoman Dina Pierce said in an email.

“Ohio EPA felt that it was in the best interest of the public and the environment to issue interim orders that provided set deadlines and established procedures on the key issues such as installation of the temporary cap, odor surveillance, air monitoring and notification to citizens and local government officials,” she added. “Waste Management agreed to enter into the interim orders while continuing to work with Ohio EPA on the long-term issues which will be addressed in final orders.”

The document signed Monday by agency Director Craig Butler indicates the orders need to be taken – depending on the action - either by or before Dec. 22.

The lack of established deadlines and communications have been sore spots for Moraine City Manager David Hicks. When the odors started in late April Hicks said there was no prior notice given to neighboring communities despite ample time to provide it.

Hicks also said he was told by Stony Hollow officials that the odors were temporary and the issues causing them would be resolved in a matter of weeks.

Since that time:

  • Two sewer overflows in October near the landfill were accompanied by "noxious" odors which led to more than a dozen cleanup crews to seek medical attention. Dayton ordered the landfill to stop discharging waste into the city's system and an investigation is ongoing, the city indicated Friday.
  • The Montgomery County Solid Waste Advisory Committee - which represents more than 20 jurisdictions - voted Nov. 16 to ask the solid waste district to "determine alternative options for waste disposal that are economically and environmentally responsible." The vote came after Hicks asked the board to have the county stop taking waste to Stony Hollow until the odor issue is resolved.

Meanwhile, a contractor the city of Dayton hired has finished cleaning the sanitary sewer where blockages caused the October overflows, said city Spokeswoman Toni Bankston.

“Once a cause is determined, the city will evaluate a plan from the landfill to…..mitigate future buildups within the sanitary collection system. This will include an ongoing testing schedule,” she stated in an email.