web page consultants:
|02-07-03: Fort Recovery couple dispute manure license
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
A Fort Recovery couple is disputing their license fee paid to the
Mercer County Health Department for a manure composting facility they run on their poultry
Jim and Mary Wenning, 1500 Union City Road, told board of health
members who met Thursday that they want the board to reimburse them half of the $1,200 fee
they paid in 2002 for a solid waste license they say overestimates the use of their
facility. They want the $600 refund to be used to cover a $600 license fee for this year.
The cost of the license is different for the two years because of a
change in numbers on the Wennings' application.
The Wennings compost poultry manure, mixing it with a paper pulp
product. Under Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, the facility counts as a
solid waste operation because they use paper pulp and compost it into a marketable
product. Since the facility is a solid waste operation, they must have the local license.
The $1,200 license the Wennings paid for in September 2002 was based on
an estimated 30 tons of manure being processed daily. However, a newer, more accurate
estimate of 19.5 tons was noted on this year's application, resulting in a lower license
fee for this year, a representative of the Wennings told board members.
The two different amounts of daily manure were derived from two
different universities the Wennings obtained to do studies on how much manure is processed
daily, said Michelle Kimmel, the health department's environmental health director.
Because the composting facility never handled the 30 tons listed on the
old application, the Wennings want half of their money reimbursed, said Ron Strasburg, a
consultant who has guided the Wennings through the state and local permitting processes.
"We feel we've been overcharged for last year," Strasburg
But Kimmel told health board members the Wennings failure to pay for
this year's license has resulted in an invalid license application. The facility is now
operating without a license, she said.
Mike Reiser, an EPA official who attended Thursday's meeting, said the
Wennings have been illegally operating the facility for at least 18 months.
But Mary Wenning said it is not fair that the manure composting is
considered a solid waste activity. The Wennings plan to argue that issue before EPA
officials in the near future.
"We're just farmers out here. We're not sitting on a gold
mine," she said.
Board members offered mixed feelings on whether any money should be
reimbursed. They eventually tabled the issue until a number of questions can be answered.
They want to know the legality of offering a refund and want to find out how the Wennings
fare in their dispute with the EPA over the classification of their facility.
Also Thursday, Health Commissioner Dr. Philip Masser told board members
that no source for an outbreak of salmonella poisoning has been tracked down. Also the
number of confirmed cases has risen to 18, mostly involving students at Celina's East
elementary school and others with some connection to the school, he said.
"We've not really found any contaminated source," Masser
said. "Whatever the source was, it appears to have died down."
In other business, board members:
- Agreed to buy some new computer equipment from Intermedia 3, Delphos,
for $6,211, to be paid from state grant money.
- Delayed a decision on buying a cellular phone for 24-hour contact
with local health officials to meet the terms of a bioterror grant.
- Approved a food service plan for the Shingle Shack restaurant near
Montezuma, which is reopening after it burned down last year.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY STANDARD
(419)586-2371, Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH