Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost visits Crossridge Landfill | News, Sports, Jobs

STEUBENVILLE — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost visited the Crossridge Landfill site on Thursday, saying he wanted to see conditions there for himself before a court date in June.

What he saw did not make him happy.

“At the back of the landfill, where the sluices are and everything…there’s some eerie stuff, like out of a sci-fi horror movie, seeping out of the ground and heading towards…Cross Creek,” he said. “It’s red and oily; the only thing missing are bubbles and steam. You don’t have to be a chemist to know it’s bad. (The) water flows down the hill with all that it contains.

Yost’s tour guides were Jefferson County Health Department site inspectors. In September 2021, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard J. McMonagle granted the Ohio Health Department and Environmental Protection Agency inspectors “unhindered access” to the landfill to make inspections, obtain samples, take photos, take measurements, conduct investigations and other necessary activities. Owner Joseph Scugoza appealed that order, but lost.

County Health District Commissioner Andrew Henry said he discovered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday that the attorney general wanted to see the property. Some of their schedules had to be rearranged on short notice, he said, “but I think it was an interesting visit.”

“We appreciate his attention to the situation as the matter has dragged on for so long,” said Henry. “We certainly talked to him about landfills and the effects it can have on the surrounding environment. I’m sure he knew some very high level information, but we really showed him the bad things he would never have known otherwise, like an open dump and a leachate pond.

Yost agreed that it is “It’s been going on too long.”

“Most importantly, I’ve had a first-hand view of the impact of this on the environment and, in particular, (how close) (it is) to the Ohio River. I’m deeply concerned about what I saw, disturbed by what I saw. he said, adding that there were “dangerous things full of ammonia and other things seeping out of this landfill because it was never properly closed and it is time for this to stop.

“The most disturbing thing is how long this has been going on – it goes back to the late 90s, and sitting here in 2022…I’m all for due process, but it’s an overdue process. “

He said he asked his staff to “do everything possible”.

“If there’s something we haven’t done that I can do, I want to do it” he said, pointing out that, “It is important to know that under modern law we would not be here: there are certain guarantees that must be given when you open a landfill that you can close it. This landfill is old enough that the laws don’t apply, but the owners still have a responsibility to close the landfill and protect the environment and they haven’t.

He said the cost of cleaning up the landfill has been pegged at $7 million to $8 million.

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