STEUBENVILLE - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Monday praised a contempt order signed recently against Joseph G. Scugoza, Crossridge Landfill, and C&D Disposal Technologies that immediately granted the state a $19 million judgment for stipulated penalties regarding ongoing violations at the Crossridge Landfill in Jefferson County.
Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge David Henderson during an Oct. 4 hearing found Scugoza, who controls the companies, to be in contempt of a 2003 judicial order that the Crossridge Solid Waste Landfill was to be capped and closed and, among other provisions, a ground water monitoring plan be implemented.
Scugoza did not appear at the court hearing, according to a press release issued by the attorney general and the OEPA. But Scugoza said Monday he will comment on the state contempt of court charges at another time.
"These companies have had repeated opportunities to correct their operations but have failed to do so. This decision shows how important it is that the laws protecting the environment and public health are followed," said DeWine.
"In Ohio EPA's 40 years, the agency has succeeded in improving waste management, water quality and air quality in the state. As we move forward, Ohio EPA will continue to help businesses that strive to comply with and exceed environmental requirements, and we will vigorously pursue those that violate the law and compromise public health," stated OEPA Director Scott Nally.
In the 2003 consent order and final judgment, C&D Disposal Technologies agreed to act as guarantor to ensure the Crossridge Landfill was capped and closed by Dec. 25, 2006.
In addition to the judgment for penalties, Henderson ordered compliance with the landfill closure requirements must begin within 30 days, including the implementation of the ground water plan and the explosive gas monitoring plan as previously approved by the OEPA. Completion of the landfill's previously approved closure is to be accomplished within one year of the court order.
Crossridge owns the adjacent property on county Road 26 near Wintersville on which the C&D Disposal construction and demolition debris facility is located.
C&D Disposal and Scugoza currently control the past-licensed and now unlicensed Crossridge Landfill, the unlicensed C&D Disposal Landfill, an unlawful open dump known as the "recycling area", a haul road and a rail unloading area, according to the press release.
In a separate case, the state has alleged that the C&D landfill operated illegally outside of the approved limits of its past license and continued to operate after its license was denied.
The Jefferson County Health Department also is pursuing contempt of court charges against Scugoza stemming from a July 12 temporary restraining order prohibiting the landfill near the Jefferson County Airpark from accepting solid waste at its recycling center.
The managing partner of the C&D Disposal Technologies landfill agreed in August to temporarily close the facility pending its sale to the Delaware-based United Waste.
Scugoza said he does plan to attend a Nov. 5 hearing before Henderson to answer contempt of court charges filed by Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta.
"I have told Mrs. Agresta that I have had a closed sign on the scale house window since I agreed to take that action. The gates are locked and we have not accepted any waste or recyclable material since my agreement with the court. I will be in court on Nov. 5 and will most certainly contest the charges by the county," Scugoza said.
"I have been working with United Waste to sell the C&D facility. But at this time there is no business, no employees and our facility is closed. I have taken care of the leachate issues and there are no odor issues. In fact there has never been an odor issue. We don't have the problems being manifested by the state and the county," said Scugoza.
"The state and county should hope the facility is re-opened under new ownership and the employees are brought back to work. I don't understand why the county wants to keep people out of work. The county should focus on the new ownership and should focus on the solution and not the problem," added Scugoza.
Agresta said she will be seeking a judgment by the court.