MOUNT GILEAD — The Morrow County Health District investigated complaints regarding the Edison School demolition debris being disposed of illegally and found a contractor not compliant.
A caller complained demolition trucks had hauled debris to a dump site on private property on County Road 76.
Morrow County Health District Inspector Rodney Brewer went to the site and found several things that were not allowed in a dump site. The local property site can only accept “clean hard fill.” That fill consists of brick, stone, gravel, soil, concrete or asphalt.
Brewer took photos at the site where he found pipes, plastic, wood, some glass and pieces of drywall that was mixed in with the bricks and stone materials that are allowed to be dumped at a private property site. The Health Department sent the pictures to the Ohio EPA, which has oversight on the disposal of building debris.
Ohio EPA Environmental Specialist Phil Farnlacher looked at Brewer’s photos and confirmed that the pipes and other materials needed to be separated and taken to a licensed facility such as Mid-State Waste near Johnsville.
Morrow County Environmental Health Director Brian Benick told the demolition contractor, Russ James of Russ James Contracting, Inc. of Zanesville, Ohio, that he would need to comply with regulations and separate the materials that didn’t belong with the clean fill.
“At first he (Russ James) argued that it was just wood chips and mulch mixed in. He finally admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong. He got caught,” Benick said.
Dina Pierce, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, said that James’ contracting company has now cleaned up the site of pipes and other miscellaneous items. She said a lot of the material not allowed was ground up wood from the building.
Pierce said Dec. 28 that the situation is considered “resolved.”
Benick told The Sentinel Dec. 22 that both the Morrow County Health Environmental Department and the Ohio EPA inspector are satisfied that the site is now in compliance with regulations. The contractor removed the pipes, wood and other materials that are not allowed in clean hard fill.
Benick said that except for the abatement done by the EPA before the demolition begins, there is no requirement for the County Health Department or the EPA to do inspections on buildings when they are demolished. They only go to a site if there are complaints.
Because of the complaints and findings of the Health District and the Ohio EPA, Benick said the Morrow County Health Department will continue to monitor the disposal of the Edison School debris until the work is finished.