LORDSTOWN Activist: Close landfill for tests
The EPA needs to follow up on its own testing, a local activist says.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LORDSTOWN -- The leader of a local citizens group wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to close a landfill until it can test the slag, air, water and soil around the site.
Lauraine Breda of the Citizens Against Lafarge Landfill said potential toxins from slag at the Lordstown Construction Recovery landfill, owned by Lafarge North America, on Newton Falls-Bailey Road need to be assessed and documented.
During a press conference Tuesday, Breda cited studies by the EPA that state iron and steel slag can contain toxins that can be released, then inhaled and absorbed into the body. Her primary concerns, she says, are potentially high amounts of chromium, manganese, arsenic and cadmium.
Breda claims that proper testing was never done on the site when it solely operated as a slag dump, nor before a construction and demolition debris landfill began operations last month.
"What use is all of the documentation, studies and tests done by the EPA if these agencies do not follow up on their own studies and test results with appropriate, responsible and timely actions?" she said.
Breda said it wasn't until she began researching landfills and toxins that she became aware many of her neighbors have been sick, saying some have lesions she thinks comes from the toxins in the air from the slag.
"We did not know we were at risk," she said. "We trusted that our health and safety would be protected."
Unlike construction, demolition-debris and solid-waste landfills, slag dumps are not regulated in the state of Ohio.
Lafarge North America bought the property on Newton Falls-Bailey Road from the Standard Slag company in the late 1980s. The site has been used as a slag dump, accepting the material primarily by train, since the 1940s.
"We demand an immediate injunction of all of Lafarge's operations and complete investigations and the testing of the slag, air, water and soil with all results immediately made public," Breda said.
Breda has led neighbors in the fight to keep Lafarge from opening Lordstown Construction Recovery, which operates as a landfill for materials such as brick, wood, cement and shingles.
She has worked with local and state legislators to draft laws calling for stricter requirements against construction and demolition-debris landfills in the state, as well as making sure those in existence live up to the current requirements.
State Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles, D-65th, and state Sen. Marc Dann of Liberty, D-33rd, have introduced companion pieces of legislation that would create stricter guidelines for licensing new landfills. Both pieces are still pending in the Legislature.