STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Health asked Assistant County Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta to start an investigation into the finances of C&D Disposal Technologies to determine if the landfill collected tipping fees last year that should have been paid to the health department.
The board approved the action following a 15-minute executive session Tuesday morning.
According to Agresta, the owners of the now closed landfill owe the health department $93,708 in back payments from December 2011 to July 2012, "and that amount continues to grow because of the 10-percent-a-month late fees."
"I will be determining if C&D was paid tipping fees and if so why they didn't pay fees to the health department. If we find the landfill owners did obtain fees it will be up to the board of health on the next course of action," said Agresta.
The health board and C&D landfill have been in a legal stalemate for months.
The two sides last squared off before Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson in November when Joseph Scugoza, co-managing partner of the C&D Disposal Technologies agreed to a contempt of court motion filed by the Jefferson County board of health.
Scugoza was given until Dec. 20 to clean up the landfill's recycling site. "On behalf of C&D I am agreeing they are in contempt of court because the recycling area is not fully cleaned up. We have contained leachate and there are no odors. C&D does not have funds to clean up that site. But we have closed the facility and posted a sign at the scale house," Scugoza told Henderson during the November hearing.
"That has created a financial hardship for the health department and other agencies who share in those fees. The health department uses the fees to help fund the environmental division," said Agresta following the November hearing.
Scugoza told Henderson in November the landfill soon would be sold to United Waste and that corporation will fund the cleanup of the recycling site.
Mike Settles of the OEPA said Tuesday the agency "has been approached about the possible acquisition of the facility and bring the facility into environmental compliance. There have been discussions regarding the environmental concerns and what it would take to resolve those issues."
Settles said the OEPA and Ohio Attorney General's office are continuing to pursue legal action against C&D landfill regarding compliance issues.
Mark Moretti of the state attorney general's office said late Tuesday his office "is involved in the negotiations and possible purchase of the landfill. It is ongoing."
Neither Settles or Moretti would identify the potential buyer.
In other business during the monthly meeting, health department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz announced a lengthy legal dispute between the Springfield Township trustees in Jefferson County and the German Township trustees in Harrison County regarding tipping fees from the Apex Landfill have been resolved.
"Our office will split tipping fees between the two townships at no cost to the health department," said Misselwitz.
The health board agreed to pursue legal action against eight Pottery Addition residents for refusing to tie into the new county sanitary sewer system.
Misselwitz said the health department received 75 odor complaints regarding the Apex landfill near Amsterdam. "Eight of those complaints were verified," he said.
"It seems like the odor is worse on the weekends. I drive on those roads and the smell can be really bad and putrid on some weekends," noted health board member Dale Featheringham.
According to Health Department Sanitarian Carla Gampola, "even with a gas extraction system in place at the landfill there will be periodic burps of gas until the final cover is in place."
In other matters, Sanitarian Mark Maragos reported his division performed 84 food service inspections in January.
"We also investigated 13 animal bites and inspected four dilapidated structures in January. Our division also conducted two solid waste facility inspections, one open dumping complaint and made two inspections at the C&D facility," said Maragos.
Jack McGuire of the Public Health Division reported 198 cases of chlamydia throughout the county in 2012.