U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's TAGA bus (Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer), a specialized mobile air quality laboratory, visits the Countywide Landfill in East Sparta, Ohio, today.
The TAGA bus is managed by the agency's Edison, N.J.-based Environmental Response Team. The vehicle has been used to assess airborne contaminants at other landfills.
In April, EPA entered into an agreement requiring landfill operator Republic Services to take a number of actions to protect human health and the environment at and around the facility. Data collected by the TAGA bus will help EPA establish a baseline to assess the effectiveness of air pollution control methods required under the agreement.
The actions, paid for by Republic, are expected to cost several million dollars. The company will reimburse EPA for oversight expenses.
EPA is currently reviewing Republic's proposed action plans to address installation of a landfill cover and long-term capping provisions, landfill gas extraction and monitoring, ambient air monitoring at and around the facility, and workplace safety and health operations for Countywide Landfill employees. Upon approval of these plans, site work will begin under EPA oversight.
EPA is the lead agency ensuring compliance with the April order. Ohio EPA and the Stark County Health Department continue to oversee day-to-day operations under a state waste facility permit. Ohio EPA also continues to monitor compliance with all previously issued state orders.
The Countywide Landfill opened in 1991. About 275 acres of the site are permitted for disposal of solid waste. The site contains about 600,000 tons of aluminum process waste. The aluminum waste reacts when it comes into contact with liquids, generating noxious odors and heat. Ohio EPA formally requested EPA assistance at the site in February.