Saturday, December 5, 2009


Mayor David Held of North Canton tells the SCPR that what North Canton has been doing in terms of disposing of its street sweepings has been going on across Stark County (for communities that have street sweepers) for the past ten years.

He stands by his contention that North Canton has only been doing what other nearby government entities have been doing.  Moreover, he says that the local branch of the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Stark County engineer's office has a sort of  "Pied Piper" (the SCPR characterization - not Held's) on the matter of disposing of street sweepings.

Held says that some North Canton government officials are trying to use the North Canton "street sweepings" issue as a pretext to force him to dismiss North Canton administrator Earle Wise, Jr and city utilities supervisor Thomas Chupar, but that these offcials can forget it because he views Wise and Chupar as being officials of the highest integrity and valuable assets to North Canton.

Held is to meet with Ohio EPA officials on Wednesday (December 9th) as well as state Senator Kirk Schuring to determine exactly what is and what is not permitted by operation of Ohio Administrative Code section 2745.27.

As an aside, the SCPR asked about a copy of a test taken by North Canton city employees and administrative officials at a Erosion and Sediment Control continuing education session (put on by Julie Barberi) of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in March, 2009 and November, 2008.

Why the question?

Because there was at least one of the questions in the 45 question test that is relevant to the North Canton street sweepings mess.

The question:  "Street sweeping material is considered hazardous waste material?  True or False?"

What do you think the correct answer is?

According to the answer key:  "True."

But the real answer is:  "it depends."

Depends on what?

Are the sweepings saturated with the likes of oil, gasoline and the like?

If they are, then the answer is clearly "True."

According to Held, if not; then he believes the sweepings may be "solid waste," but not "hazardous waste."

Of course, Held et al have been working on the premise that the sweepings are "yard waste" and, hence are disposable as "back-fill" as North Canton has been doing at its Jackson Township contracted site.

The SCPR believes that North Canton has been operating under a "wishful thinking" modality.  If North Canton officials determined that the sweepings are "solid waste," the the dumping has to take place at a landfill which runs about $200 a dump.

North Canton has been doing the "yard waste" dumping at least as far back as the days that present North Canton City Council president Daryl Revoldt was mayor of the Dogwood City.

The SCPR believes that "the test question" as set forth above, should have red flagged to North Canton officials that it had a problem with the disposal of its self-defined "yard waste."  The next step down from "hazardous waste" is not :yard waste," but "solid waste."

Held says that "the test question" did trigger North Canton to begin checking out the "real" definition of the street sweepings.  With all due respect to Held, the SCPR is skeptical of his answer.

The Report believes that North Canton citizen activist Chuck Osborne was the trigger.

At the end of the day, getting clarification is critically important not only for North Canton, but also to many Stark County political subdivisions.  Held tells The Report that only Canton and Perry Township (so far as he knows) have properly disposed of street sweepings in recent times.

This issue affects government.  It boggles the mind that even government is not effectively communicating to government.

What is wrong with the "rule-makers" at the Stark County level, the state of Ohio level and the national level that permits a situation that political subdivisions do not know what is expected of them?

However, the SCPR does not excuse North Canton.  The "test event" was months ago.  The test question clearly indicated alarm bells.  Yet, now is Held scheduled to go to Columbus to get to the bottom of the matter.

Moreover, the Held "we are doing what many others are doing" mantra is not acceptable.

When individual citizens are unclear of what the rules, regulations and law requires of them and follows the lead of friends, neighbors and relatives;  courts-of-law generally do not accept the answers like:  "but your Honor, my neighbor Joe does exactly the same thing."

North Canton's mistake could cost the city $100,000 or more in scarce taxpayer money.  Money that could go towards fixing potholes given that North Canton voters rejected (by four votes) providing one mill more to the streets department to take care of city roads and streets.

Undoubtedly Osborne is a pain to North Canton officials.  But folks like Osborne do provide a public service.

The silver lining out of  North Canton illegal dumping revelation is that its occurrence is likely to get Ohio EPA communication more clearly!

But North Canton should have pursued the clarification - a looooong time ago.

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