OEPA to host public comment meeting on Win Waste Innovations’ expansion plans
By Sheri Trusty, Seneca County Media Relations Coordinator
Mike Cool is facing the difficult decision of whether to move from his longtime home in Fostoria. Cool said the home is the “perfect place to live,” with one startling exception. The house is often overwhelmed, inside and outside, by putrid odors from nearby Sunny Farms Landfill, providing tangible evidence of potential toxins and raising fears over compromised air and water safety.
“It’s very depressing because of the stink,” Cool said. “Our neighbors are awesome. We love Fostoria. We’re proud of Fostoria, but we’re looking to move.”
Sunny Farms Landfill is owned by WIN Waste Innovations and accepts local trash and out-of-state waste by rail.
Now, WIN Waste Innovations is seeking Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval to expand the landfill from its current 261.3 acres to 479.8 acres, and it is requesting approval for a vertical expansion over a 27.4-acre section of the landfill’s North Unit. The expansion would increase the landfill’s daily out-of-state trash receipt from 7,500 tons to 12,000 tons a day.
The Ohio EPA will host an informational and public comment meeting regarding WIN Waste Innovation’s expansion plans in February.
Monday, Feb. 5, 2024
625 Plaza Drive, Fostoria
The Seneca County Commissioners are part of a large group of community leaders and local residents who have been fighting to gain more local oversight of the landfill.
“WIN Waste Innovations should not be permitted to expand when it has a long history of noncompliance and has consistently turned a deaf ear to residents’ concerns,” Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart said.
Sunny Farms Landfill is located in Seneca County, near the border of Hancock and Wood counties. The Seneca County Commissioners hope residents from all the counties potentially affected by the landfill will attend the meeting to let their voices be heard, including Ottawa County and Sandusky County, which are located in watersheds within the vicinity of Sunny Farms Landfill.
A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water. In Northwest Ohio, the primary body of water at the receiving end of the watersheds is Lake Erie.
Ottawa County lies within the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds. According to the Ohio EPA, “The Portage River flows into Lake Erie at Port Clinton in Ottawa County. The watershed is distributed across Ottawa, Sandusky, Hancock and Wood counties with a small portion in Seneca County.”
Major municipalities partially or fully in the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds include Fostoria, Port Clinton, and Marblehead.
Sandusky County also lies within the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay tributaries watersheds, which flow through 12 counties. According to the Ohio EPA, “Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Sandusky, Fremont, Tiffin, Bucyrus, and Upper Sandusky.”
Because Sunny Farms Landfill lies within the vicinity of the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds and the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay tributaries watersheds, residents across Northwest Ohio fear toxins from the landfill could affect water quality all the way to Lake Erie, and they worry that an expansion of the landfill could worsen the negative environmental impact in their towns.
According to the Ohio EPA, the public comment meeting will address three permit applications submitted by WIN Waste Innovations for “landfill expansion and associated stormwater discharges and landfill air emissions.”
The expansion permit includes a request to relocate 2 million cubic yards of waste from an unlined portion of the landfill. The waste, which was buried in the original waste mound decades ago, would be exposed and relocated to a lined section.
The public is encouraged to attend, comment and ask questions about the permit applications at the Feb. 5 meeting. Written comments may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Ohio EPA DMWM, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049, Attention Brian Dearth. The deadline for submitting written comments is Feb. 19.
For more information, contact Archie Lunsey, Chief Communication Officer, Ohio EPA, Northwest District Office at 419-373-3142, 614-460-0928 or Archie.Lunsey@epa.ohio.gov.