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Moving Mountains for Mill Creek

April 15, 2016

For the last 8 years, Dottore Companies has been the court-appointed receiver overseeing the 160-acre Harvard Refuse landfill in the Cuyahoga River industrial valley. Pre-1988, various PCB-infused waste was dumped into the landfill and covered with dirt. As a result, the landfill oozes leachate into Mill Creek and releases methane gas into the air of the residential communities nearby. We’ve been tasked to oversee the property and help to negotiate a plan to mitigate the landfill’s pollution issues.
 
Currently the cost associated with managing the landfill is over $200,000 a year, and the cost of mitigation and cleanup is estimated to be $20 - $80 million. The State of Ohio is responsible for these costs. To save taxpayers the financial burden, it is imperative that we find a self-sustaining solution for this property.
 
We’ve identified an opportunity to get creative. The Port of Cleveland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are undecided about a solution for the disposal of mountains of dredged sediment from the bottom of the Cuyahoga River.
 
We propose that mountains of dredged sediment from the river be moved to the Harvard Refuse landfill. In this interview with James F. McCarty of the Plain Dealer, Mark Dottore said,
 
“The money generated from the tipping fees would pay the costs to fix the leachate, gas and erosion problems. This can work.”
 

A situation like this takes perseverance and persistence. We’ve been met with opposition to our proposal, but we will continue to negotiate. So far, other parties have suggested a solar farm, industrial park, and planting wildflowers and prairie grass. According to Mark,

“If this wasn’t all garbage underground I would agree…But we need to deal with the public safety issues first.”
 
We welcome ideas on how to solve the pollution issues of the Harvard Refuse landfill, keeping in mind that it needs to sustain itself and benefit the public. How much longer should our citizens have to wait for protections to their health?
 
This article proposes one solution of many. What are your thoughts on how to utilize the land?

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