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Huron County to change recycling plan

Ivy Keller • Oct 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM

Huron County will soon have to write up a new plan for its recycling program, adhering to new requirements put in place by the OEPA.

Now, 90 percent of people in the district must have the ability to recycle within five years, rather than the current volume-based goals.

According to Huron County Solid Waste Management District Operator Peter Welch, the process of switching over from volume-based goals to percentage-based will be a lengthy one.

“We have submitted the draft plan to the EPA,” Welch said, speaking to the county commissioners during their meeting. SWMDs typically update their plans every 3-5 years.

There are actually two steps to getting a plan approved. According to the Ohio EPA’s website, the process “typically takes several years to complete.”

The SWMD must first create a draft of their plan, as Huron County has already done, which they submit to the EPA for feedback, and a “non-binding advisory opinion.” 

Following this, the SWMD begins the second step, or “phase”, for approval. The district makes any changes it deems necessary and completes the ratification process, according to the EPA.

To do this, the plan must be approved by the local political jurisdictions within the SWMD. If they all approve and it’s ratified, the plan is sent back to the EPA for approval there.

Of course, there are consequences if it fails to be approved by either the political jurisdictions or the OEPA in the second step. In this case, the EPA may take it up to write a plan for the district regardless of what the district or public wants.

During the commissioners meeting, this possibility was mentioned.

“How much different would the EPA plan look?” asked commissioner Dunlap.

Different, said Welch.

“They are probably backlogged a year, a year and a half out,” he explained, adding that this sort of thing would cost the district about $30,000.

At the moment, the SWMD funds itself by charging a $4.50 per ton gee on waste in the county. This is collected at any landfill or transfer station where the waste is taken. The district also seeks out and applies for grant funds, and does not receive money from the county general fund.

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