A landfill in southern Stark County wants to build a 12-mile pipeline to ship landfill liquids to the city of Canton’s sewage plant.
In return, the city would ship its sewage sludge to American Landfill, near Waynesburg in Sandy Township, in response to tightening federal clean-air rules.
Canton City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on the proposed agreement with Waste Management, the trash-hauling company that owns and operates American Landfill.
The council had the first and second readings of the legislation in early December but postponed final approval because of the concerns voiced by Councilwoman-at-large Mary Cirelli and others that Ohio’s Utica shale boom could trigger bigger environmental problems.
The fear is that low-level radiation and other contamination from the drilling wastes from natural gas-oil wells in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania will end up in the landfill liquids, called leachate, and create environmental problems in Nimishillen Creek.
That stream, a Tuscarawas River tributary, receives discharges from the Canton sewage plant.
American Landfill is accepting drill cuttings, drilling muds and fracking sands that could have elevated radiation, in part from exposure to underground rocks, Waste Management says.
Canton is aware of the potential leachate problems, including the radiation, and is fully prepared to handle it, Service Director Warren Price wrote in an email to critics.
The city is comfortable that the leachate can be “safely and properly handled,” said Tracy Mills, who heads the city’s sewage-treatment plant.
American Landfill will be responsible for testing under the city’s industrial pre-treatment program, and Canton personnel will supervise and can conduct spot checks, Mills said.
The state has set limits on low-level radiation from two sources associated with drilling wastes.
Waste Management will pay for the pipeline, and any problems created by the leachate will be handled by the company, he said.
A route for the pipeline has not been finalized. It probably would be built in 2014 and in operation in 2015, Waste Management spokeswoman Beth Schmucker said.
Easements would be required for the pipeline, she said. No price tag has been finalized.
The new agreement has been two years in the works, Mills said.
American Landfill offered to take the sludge for just over $17 per wet ton, compared to $40 at other landfills, Price said.
American has been trucking its leachate to the Alliance sewage plant for disposal. It sent 25 million gallons to that plant in 2011.
Canton expects to get about 60,000 gallons of leachate per day from the landfill, Price said.
Canton will not charge Waste Management for the first 100,000 gallons of leachate per day, he said, and the company will pay industrial rates for additional quantities, he said.
In a pilot study, the Canton plant in early 2011 handled about 50,000 gallons per day of leachate from American Landfill with no adverse effect on the plant, city officials said.
The sewage plant in Canton Township handles about 30 million gallons of wastewater per day.
The sewage plant already handles about 8,500 gallons per day of leachate from the closed Statewide Landfill in Canton Township.
The proposed pipeline-sludge agreement was triggered because Canton is facing federal rules on its sludge from the sewage plant.
Canton has been incinerating that waste since the early 1970s. New federal clean-air rules would require costly improvements in excess of $30 million.
Incinerator ash is trucked to a landfill in Tuscarawas County.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.