CANTON: A City Council majority has approved a contract allowing a southern Stark County landfill to send its liquid runoff to the city’s sewage treatment plant.
In exchange, the city will receive a discount on the cost of disposing of the plant’s sludge at American Landfill.
The plan has drawn the scrutiny of environmentalists because the landfill accepts solid waste, such as drill cuttings, from hydraulic fracturing.
“There’s no way of knowing what’s coming through that pipeline,” said Councilwoman Mary Cirelli, who cast one of three votes against the plan Monday night. “There is no price on people’s lives. We could have babies that are born with — that are deformed.”
She cited the possibility that radiation and other carcinogens could be present in the landfill leachate.
Joining her in opposition to the deal were Councilmen Edmond Mack and Frank Morris.
Service Director Warren Price said the leachate will be tested regularly.
“I am confident the waste stream we’re accepting, or that we’re proposing to accept from American Landfill, fully meets our permit requirements,” Price said.
He chided the council for not looking at the 600-some pages of records about a 30-day trial of leachate processing, a document he said shows the practice is safe.
“While it sounds scary to take landfill leachate, we’ve done it,” Price said.
The sewage plant already handles low-level radioactive waste — most of it from medical sources — and meets discharge limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he said.
Treatment plant Superintendent Tracy Mills said the leachate will be no different than liquids taken from other industrial customers.
“We have four full-time personnel on staff that do nothing, nothing, but monitor industrial waste into our facility,” Mills told council.