Residents fear WIN Waste landfill could affect Lake Erie

Feb 20, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Mike Cool is facing the difficult decision of whether to move from his longtime home in Fostoria. Cool said the home is the “perfect place to live,” with one startling exception. The house is often overwhelmed, inside and outside, by putrid odors from the nearby WIN Waste Innovations landfill, providing tangible evidence of potential toxins and raising fears over compromised air and water safety.

“It’s very depressing because of the stink,” Cool said. “Our neighbors are awesome. We love Fostoria. We’re proud of Fostoria, but we’re looking to move.”

The WIN Waste Innovations landfill, formerly known as Sunny Farms Landfill, accepts local trash and out-of-state waste by rail.

Now, WIN Waste Innovations is seeking Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval to expand the landfill from its current 261.3 acres to 479.8 acres, and it is requesting approval for a vertical expansion over a 27.4-acre section of the landfill’s North Unit. The expansion would increase the landfill’s daily out-of-state trash receipt from 7,500 tons to 12,000 tons a day.

A large group of community leaders and local residents have been fighting to protect the community.

“WIN Waste Innovations should not be permitted to expand when it has a long history of noncompliance and has consistently turned a deaf ear to residents’ concerns,” Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart said.

The WIN Waste landfill is located in Seneca County, near the border of Hancock and Wood counties. It has the potential to affect Ottawa County and Sandusky County, which are located in watersheds within the vicinity of the landfill.

A watershed is an area of land that drains into a body of water. In Northwest Ohio, the primary body of water at the receiving end of the watersheds is Lake Erie.

Ottawa County lies within the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds. According to the Ohio EPA, “The Portage River flows into Lake Erie at Port Clinton in Ottawa County. The watershed is distributed across Ottawa, Sandusky, Hancock and Wood counties with a small portion in Seneca County.”

Major municipalities partially or fully in the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds include Fostoria, Port Clinton, and Marblehead.

Sandusky County also lies within the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay tributaries watersheds, which flow through 12 counties. According to the Ohio EPA, “Major municipalities partially or fully in the watershed include Sandusky, Fremont, Tiffin, Bucyrus, and Upper Sandusky.”

Because the WIN Waste landfill lies within the vicinity of the Portage River and Toussaint River watersheds and the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay tributaries watersheds, residents across Northwest Ohio fear toxins from the landfill could affect water quality all the way to Lake Erie, and they worry that an expansion of the landfill could worsen the negative environmental impact in their towns.

For updates, visit the “Sunny Farm Landfill complaint group” Facebook page.

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