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Clermont County, OH asks judge to require EPA to turn over dump records.

With a closed hazardous waste dump slumbering just five miles away from one of its main sources of drinking water, Clermont County tries to stay as informed as it can about possible contamination.

Just north of Harsha Lake and East Fork State Park, the so-called CECOS International landfill opened in 1972 and began taking cancer-linked PCB chemicals in 1979. The hazardous waste dumping ended in 1990, and the landfill shut down.

Ever since, CECOS has undergone environmental remediation under close scrutiny by the U.S. and Ohio EPAs. And although it is kept informed along the way, Clermont County covers itself by routinely sending Freedom of Information Act requests to the U.S. EPA.

For the first time, though, the county's director of environmental quality, Paul Braasch, says the EPA is holding out on the release of information. The county's FOIA request of March 2016 drew an EPA denial of 60 documents that "appear to contain factual information about the geology" below the CECOS landfill. The county appealed, but only received nine minor documents.

Now Clermont County is asking a federal judge in Cincinnati to order the release of the records it was denied. Braasch says he doesn't know what's in them, only that 20 have been withheld as "privileged," 11 were deemed as "non-responsive" to the request, 10 can't be found and 10 were not accounted for.

No new events are fueling the county's concerns about the landfill. No hazardous waste has been detected in lake water samples. Fish aren't dying en masse in the East Fork of the Little Miami River. Braasch says the county simply keeps tabs on the old dump.

The EPA has not yet responded to the lawsuit. A spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending legal cases.

The 211-acre CECOS landfill was controversial in the 1980s. It underwent several ownership changes since it opened and is now owned by Phoenixbased Republic Services, the nation's secondbiggest collector of solid waste and recyclables. Braasch says he has no beef with Republic, only the EPA.

Source: James McNair, CityBeat

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Publication:Hazardous Waste Superfund Alert
Date:Jun 23, 2017
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