SEVILLE – Members of the Solid Waste Policy Committee have approved a draft of a revised solid waste management plan for Medina County.
An update of the 15-year plan is required every five years by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency which will review the new changes before it is returned for ratification by elected officials around the county.
Beth Biggins-Ramer, the coordinator for the Medina County Solid Waste District, said the new updates represent no dramatic changes in policies dealing with recycling and disposal of household trash.
Nonetheless, preparing the plan is a time-consuming process that began 10 months ago and consists of many steps such as preparing the draft plan, an EPA review of plan revisions, a public comment period, ratification by a majority of local governments in the district and final EPA approval or disapproval.
The current plan is 400 pages long and is filled with technical data on such things as an inventory of facilities, estimates of waste generated and recycled, details on existing waste reduction and recycling programs, strategies to meet the goals of the plan and a budget that demonstrates adequate finances to fund the plan programs.
The budget for managing various solid waste programs did prompt one key change in the new solid waste plan. That is the institution of a new $5 per ton generation fee that will be paid by commercial and industrial customers who now have waivers to bypass the county solid waste facility and send their trash directly to landfills.
That new generation fee is projected to raise about $270,000 per year for district operations when it goes into effect with the adoption of the new solid waste plan. That fee, along with an increase from $42 to $44.50 per ton in the tipping fees charged commercial haulers is intended to balance most of a $450,000 shortfall in the annual operating budget of the solid waste district.
The district also expedited the schedule to rewrite the current plan with the intention of putting that new generation fee in effect earlier than would have otherwise been possible. That means moving the original target date for final EPA approval of the new plan from March of 2022 to July of 2021.
Consultant Jim Skora presented the proposed plan updates to the policy committee March 12 during a presentation at the Recycle Medina County Campus. The campus had previously been known as the Central Processing Facility but was recently renamed by the policy committee to better reflect the goals and functions of the district.
The facility once again houses a mixed-waste processing operation which was launched in January. Biggins-Ramer said the operation managed by Rumpke of Northern Ohio seems to be running smoothly and meeting its goal of recovering a high percentage of recyclable material from trash hauled to the facility.
Biggins-Ramer also told committee members that the solid waste district is soliciting bids on another major improvement project at the campus. This one involves a plan to open a new driveway and scale house at the campus which will separate the traffic of residents using the facility to drop off small loads of trash and recyclables from the commercial trucks which make up the bulk of traffic at the facility.