Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hamilton County adopts rules requiring commissioner approval for new landfills


All new landfills in Hamilton County will now have to get approval from the Board of Commissioners, thanks to new regulations approved in a 2-1 vote Thursday.

The rules require approval from County Commissioners on all new solid waste transfer or disposal facilities, and if an existing facility is expanded or modified. The new layer of approval is aimed at preventing adverse health, economic, environmental and social impacts.

Bill Rumpke III is regional vice president for Rumpke Waste and Recycling. He says the rules are unreasonable, expensive, and arduous.

"The extra step is not a best use of the Commission's time or resources, and will dramatically impact the timelines and budgets of these projects," Rumpke told commissioners ahead of the vote. "As well as our ability to continue providing the essential services to the 2 million people and tens of thousands of businesses who rely on these services."

About a dozen people spoke during public comment in favor of the proposal. Twenty-one other counties in Ohio have adopted local rules for solid waste facilities.

Commissioners hired outside council to help create and review the rules. The county prosecutor's office asked the Board of Commissioners to delay a vote until they could review recent changes, so they could determine whether the rules would stand up to a potential lawsuit.

Commissioner Denise Driehaus says a delay would mean some facilities moving forward without the new rules.

"We don't have the luxury of time," Driehaus said. "If we did, I think we would all be willing to delay but we just don't have the luxury of time. And I think we're just trying to give a voice to the community through this rules-making process and I feel like it's important for us to do that."

The rules are effective immediately; they don’t include compost or recycling facilities. An application for each new or expanding facility must be submitted to the county. That application will be publicly available for at least 30 days to allow time for community feedback. In it, companies will have to outline details like lighting plans, expected needs for public utility services, traffic or transportation plan, hours of operation, anticipated source of solid waste, etc.

More than half of the waste in Hamilton County landfills is generated outside the county, according to county officials.

See the full details below:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.