From Cincinnati Enquirer:

Jeff Moore worries about the 1 billion pounds of toxic materials buried less than a half-mile from his home on Aber Road.

It’s in a 208-acre landfill in rural, northeastern Clermont County – one of only two dumps in Ohio ever licensed to take hazardous waste. And while the site on Aber hasn’t accepted such waste in more than 20 years, Moore knows it contains “some real bad stuff,” including PCBs, benzene, arsenic, cyanide, toluene, mercury, pesticides and thousands more contaminants.

He fears that toxins could seep into groundwater and the creek that runs behind his home. And he questions what will happen when the owner’s 30-year requirement to monitor the landfill expires in 2027.

Those concerns are shared by Clermont County officials and their environmental consultants, who for many years have pointed to troubling issues at the closed landfill known as Cecos. Since 1988, the county has spent $10 million on legal and consulting fees, mostly in an attempt to fix what it says are flaws in the existing plan to monitor the site.

“It’s not so much that the county expects there to be an immediate major mishap. It’s really about protecting us in the future,” said county administrator David Spinney.

The county’s biggest concern is that the landfill poses a potential threat to Harsha Lake, a main source of the county’s drinking water.

While the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the landfill’s owner say measures to protect the environment are in place and working as designed, the county contends that its statistical analysis of data that Cecos is required to report indicates some leakage has already occurred.

“Is it a catastrophic leak? No. Is this a precursor of what will continue to happen? The answer is yes. Eventually it will leak enough that it will present a problem,” said Linda Aller, noting that such landfills were designed to contain material for 30 years. She is principal geologist with Bennett & Williams, a Westerville, Ohio-based environmental consulting firm that has been working on Cecos issues for Clermont County since the late 1980s.

Other technical experts hired by the county agree.

Brent Huntsman, president of Beavercreek, Ohio-based Terran Corp., is a geologist who specializes in ground water issues. Given the amount of waste at Cecos, he said, “it’s just a matter of time before it escapes into the environment.”

That has happened elsewhere. He points, for example, to U.S. Department of Energy hazardous waste landfills such as the Mound Site in Miamisburg. “If you look at all of their large installations, yes, all of their landfills have failed.”

More.

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