By TOM GIAMBRONI
WEST POINT - The operators of a coal ash landfill in Madison Township are seeking state permission to develop and operate a municipal solid waste dump on the same property.
The application before the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was filed by West Point Development LLC, a subsidiary of the Rosebud Mining Co., which has operated a coal ash landfill just south of West Point since 1995.
According to the OEPA, the proposed solid waste landfill would encompass 117 acres, of which 50 acres would overlap with the existing coal ash landfill.
The new landfill will have a disposal capacity of 18.8 million cubic yards of waste
Rosebud Vice President Jim Barker said they intend to use the municipal landfill to accept drill cuttings from oil and gas drilling operations in the region. According to an OEPA fact sheet, drill cuttings are the rock and soil excavated during the drilling process.
Drill cuttings are what is left over after the drilling fluids, or mud, are recovered for reuse.
Drill cuttings are classified as a solid waste and must be disposed of at a licensed landfill. OEPA media coordinator Dina Pierce said the new landfill would "have to install a compacted clay and separatory liner over the portion of the coal ash facility that would be impacted. That portion also will require leachate and gas collection/management systems."
While the cuttings do not come in contact with the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, because this occurs after the well has been drilled and the cuttings removed, it can contain naturally occurring low-level radioactive material commonly found in rock formations.
These cuttings would only become regulated by the state health department if the radioactive levels were found to be higher than the material's natural state.
Although Rosebud could also accept garbage at the landfill, Barker said that is not their intent. "At this point we do not have any particular plans for it" other than to accept drill cuttings, he said.
The OEPA received the application the week of July 21 and the company is required to host a public meeting within 45 days.
A copy should also be on display at either a local library or the Columbiana County Health Department, but neither could confirm receiving one yet. A copy is available for inspection at the OEPA's office in Twinsburg.
This would be the first operating solid waste landfill in the county since the former East Liverpool municipal landfill in Madison Township closed about 20 years ago.
The only other known landfills in operation are construction/ demolition debris facilities in Negley and near Rogers.