Nearly 4,000 tons of waste dumps into the Lorain County landfill each day, spurring Republic Services to apply for a expansion permit to store an additional 9.5 million cubic yards.
The new depth of the landfill, which sits at 43502 Oberlin-Elyria Road in New Russia Township, would accommodate a total of approximately 61 million cubic yards of trash.
If approved, the landfill’s lifespan would expand by 18.6 years. The way it sits now, it can only take in trash another decade before it is full.
The expansion application includes two requests to deviate from current zoning requirements.
One variance requests 1.22 acres of the total 279 acres of the landfill to have an impermeable barrier of only about seven feet separating the lowest soil liner and the highest aquifer system. The current regulation calls for a 15-foot minimum isolation distance to ensure no material from the landfill enters the local environment.
The entire expansion area has a composite liner system that separates solids from liquids, said Jennifer Eldridge, a Republic Services representative. This ensures liquids are collected and never seep into the earth.
The second variance would waive the rule for a previously constructed area to have a two percent slope requirement for the bottom liner. If approved, a 5.7-acre area would have a 1.9 percent slope.
The EPA will review resident comments and concerns — there were many voiced at a Feb. 22 public hearing — and render a final decision on the request this year.
Eldridge said if the permit is not approved, the waste collection company would work with the county and the EPA to figure out other options.
“Would it mean a different type of expansion or moving the landfill? Would it mean relocating the routes of trash collecting to different areas? We don’t know yet,” she said.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.