Oregon looks closely at treating water from landfill

Kelly J. Kaczala

             Oregon City Council on Monday will consider accepting bids for the transportation and disposal of treated dewatered biosolids for the Oregon Wastewater Treatment Plant.
        Council will review bids for two contracts - one for hauling, the other for the disposal of dewatered biosolids from the wastewater treatment plant, Public Service Director Paul Roman said at a committee of the whole meeting on May 6.
        Midwest Compost, Clyde, Ohio, had the lowest and best bid for hauling. Rumpke, an landfill in Cincinnati, had the lowest and best bid for the disposal of treated dewatered biosolids from the city’s wastewater treatment plant, said Roman.
        “I just want to let council know we’re still working on a barter exchange with Waste Management to trade with us,” said Roman. The barter would include the city treating leachate from Waste Management in exchange for Waste Management accepting the biosolids from Oregon’s wastewater treatment plant at no extra cost. Leachate is liquid that seeps from landfills following rain or snowfall. It is formed when water passes through the waste in a landfill.
        “We’re probably about a year from that actually happening,” Roman said about the possible tradeoff with Waste management. “We still have to go before TMACOG (Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments) to ask for a change in districts between Toledo and Oregon. Then it would still take a year to put in the sewer improvements. Waste Management would then discharge their leachate into our system. We need this contract for a year to get by.”
        Councilwoman Sandy Bihn asked if the leachate would come from the operating landfill or from the whole facility.
        Roman said it was from an older, closed landfill at the facility.
        “We analyzed the leachate. It’s high on BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand), but there’s nothing we see that would bring a concern to us.”
        Leachate, which can seep from a landfill and flow into a body of water, such as a lake, can also test high for BOD. BOD may be harmful to fish.
        “Other than that, we don’t see anything else that would cause us any problems treating it,” said Roman.
        “I’ll have to go back and look, but my recollection is that there was a portion of that, at one time, that was permitted as a hazardous waste facility, not just a solid waste facility,” said Bihn. “Quite frankly, I think it goes back  before the hazardous waste laws were created. You could have a hazardous waste and solid waste facility combined. I think that’s what they had. I’m wondering if any of these cells go back to pre-RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act). We could look very carefully at that component of the leachate. The others may be OK because they are post RCRA and it would meet solid waste requirements. I think it would be good of us to understand what they may be, and make sure we check that particular component out.”
        RCRA is a series of regulations governing the cleanup of hazardous waste sites.
        Roman said the city has had nearly 20 years of data on the landfill that has been thoroughly examined. 
        “We understood it as a mainly domestic waste landfill where the leachate is from,” said Roman. “But I know there is nothing in the test data that I saw that would cause problems.”
        “We could ask them for a delineation of the cells there. Twenty years ago seems like a long time, but I’m talking about the 80s when the laws really changed,” said Bihn. “If that leachate from those areas is included in this, it ought to be looked at a little more critically.”


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