Monday, July 17th, 2017
Landfill likely to close next year
County must find another site to take trash
By Ed Gebert
Trucks drive up the big hill to dump garbage at the landfill south of Celina on. . .
CELINA - The Celina Sanitary Landfill will reach capacity in the near future after having served as the area's waste site for more than 45 years.
The landfill will run out of available space in about one year, according to recent estimates, said Adam Burleson, the facility's operations manager.
"The landfill has a little over 93 acres total, including where we get our dirt from, and we have a nature preserve ... in the back," he said.
Officials from Republic Services, who operate the facility, in May notified the Mercer County Solid Waste District of the closure after having completed a quarterly constructed airspace analysis. According to the notification letter, only 108,000 cubic yards of space were still available at the site on Depweg Road. That would leave about one to one-and a-half years of operation, assuming the rate of trucks bringing trash remains relatively constant.
Burleson said the site, which opened in 1971 and stands about 1,000 feet above sea level, has had a final cap placed over about half of the acreage since the early 2000s. The remaining half will be capped after the landfill is closed. He described the cap as "a layer of compacted clay, a geo-synthetic liner, a drainage layer and then a vegetative layer, which promotes vegetation."
Waste disposal companies using the site pay tipping fees to the Mercer County Solid Waste District at a rate of $2 per ton for Mercer County and out-of-state trash and $4 per ton for Ohio out-of-county trash. With the pending closure, officials with the district, which already has one of the smallest budgets in the state, must make some decisions, solid waste district coordinator Kent Hinton said.
"We have to get our plan approved for how to pay for our department," he said. "We have a little reserve, but we have to be able to pay for our solid waste plan in a fair and equitable way. The (Environmental Protection Agency) will not approve your plan unless you show you have funding in place."
Burleson said officials at each waste disposal company will decide where to haul local trash collected in unincorporated areas.
"Right now, we just have to show that there is capacity available somewhere," district program manager Carla Buening said.
She listed several options including Jay County, Indiana; Bellefontaine; and various regional transfer stations.
For trash collected within village and city limits, municipality officials will decide where to take the trash.
Hinton said most trash customers could see a small increase in fees if trucks must travel much farther, but he doesn't expect any increase to be "anything too drastic."
He added that he is sad to see the relationship between the landfill and the solid waste district come to a close.
"They've been a pretty good partner for the county," he said.
Burleson said Republic Services will monitor the landfill for 30 years after it closes. The site will be monitored to ensure that what has been thrown away will remain thrown away without affecting the environment.