More wells needed

Auglaize County residents will likely soon carry the burden of paying for four more monitoring wells — at a cost of approximately $20,000 more per year — at the former St. Marys landfill that now houses the Auglaize County Recycling Center.

Auglaize County Solid Waste Coordinator Dave Reichelderfer, discussed the likely scenario Thursday with the Auglaize County commissioners during a meeting at the commissioners office  at Auglaize Acres.

The Ohio Environmenntal Protection Agency (EPA) officials recently sent a notice to the county and Hall & Associates, the engineering firm that handles the monitoring for the county regarding the landfill.

The county now pays for the monitoring that is scheduled to go until 2028, or 30 years from the landfill’s closure. Currently, 14 wells are monitored at an approximate cost of $80,000 a year to the county and its residents. The four new wells would add an additional $30,000 to that cost in the first year and approximately $20,000 a year after that.

Reichelderfer said it is also a possibility that the EPA could decide to extend the length of the monitoring.

“Whatever the EPA says, you are pretty much stuck with it,” Reichelderfer said.

However, it is possible the county could see some savings if some wells are decommissioned in the future. Some of the wells dug for testing are consistently dry and empty. If they would remain that way, the EPA could choose to decommission them, meaning they would no longer have to be monitored.

Auglaize County became responsible for maintaining the wells after a lawsuit was settled by the Ohio Supreme Court in September 2007, which decided in favor of the city.

Ohio’s 3rd District Court said in its ruling that the county had agreed to take full responsibility of the costs for monitoring the site in its finding after the county informed the city that it would no longer perform the monitoring in 2000. A lawsuit and a series of counterclaims ensued over the next several years until it reached the state’s highest court.

The city received its final payment of the lawsuit settlement from the county in April 2009.

Reichelderfer told the commissioners that the county received a Tire Amnesty Grant for $8,800 and as a result will have a tire drop-off day at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 20.

Reichelderfer said a company hired by the county will be available between those hours to take unwanted tires for free from residential and agricultural properties only. He said tires must be removed from their rims.

Reichelderfer reminded residents that state law allows for only 10 tires to be transported at a time without certification, so if residents planned to drop off more than 10 tires they would have to make multiple trips. Violations of this law can result in large fines.