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Fred Weber responds to health department


F.W. Disposal South had until last Friday to respond to a St. Louis County Department of Health comment letter that cited more than 40 problems with its current proposal to construct a trash-transfer station on 4200 Baumgartner Road.

The Fred Weber Inc. subsidiary did submit a response, despite prior statements that the health department's comments were not "consistent" with comments made on other trash-transfer station proposals.

"Our response is going into the health department today," Derrick Standley of the Genesis Solid Waste Group, a consultant for Fred Weber, told the Call Friday. " ... I can't speak for the health department, but we did respond to each comment the department had."

Standley previously had told the Call the company wished to meet with the health department before submitting a response.

The consultant would not comment on the discussion that recently took place between the two entities, but Standley emphasized F.W. Disposal South knew it had an obligation to address and clarify information requested by the health department.

A health department official previously told the Call that if F.W. Disposal South did not submit its response to the department by the Jan. 30 deadline, the county would have grounds for dismissing the application.

"We responded thoroughly to each comment," he said. "I wouldn't say we were as much taking issue with them as it's important these are done thoroughly.

"We don't mind responding to things other facilities have not had to respond to, but if that makes folks feel more comfortable, that's what we'll do,'' he added.

Some of the comments in the six-page letter, sent Dec. 30, asked F.W. Disposal South to:

• Also submit an application to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

• Provide a lease or deed agreement with the listing of F.W. Disposal South as the owner of the property. The listed owner of the property was Fred Weber on Dec. 30.

• Discuss noise-control procedures since noise levels at the transfer station must be below 55 decibels.

• Identify and discuss procedures that would be used to alleviate and control odors.

• Define how often the station's holding tank would be pumped into a tanker to be transported for treatment because the application said it "periodically" would be pumped.

"The reality is this facility is not going to hurt anyone," Standley said. "It is not going to damage the area in any way. In fact, it is the best thing that could happen there and it will improve the quality of life in the area, or it at least will maintain a quality of life in the area."

Russell Sharpmack, manager of solid waste at the health department, told the Call he did not know how long it would take to evaluate the updated application, but he did confirm that the department had received F.W. Disposal South's response by the deadline.

Despite last week's inclement weather, south county residents still will have a chance to speak on the current proposal for a trash-transfer station at 4200 Baumgartner Road.

Because of inclement weather, the St. Louis County Planning Commission canceled a Jan. 26 public hearing for F.W. Disposal South's current application.

However, the hearing has been rescheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, March 1, in the County Council Chambers in the Administration Building, 41 S. Central Ave., Clayton.

In a related matter, County Counselor Patricia Redington recently submitted her evaluation of the evidence presented to the County Council during a public hearing on Nov. 18, in which Fred Weber appealed the health department's decision to deny the company's permit for a trash-transfer station on 5219 Baumgartner Road, finding that it would be a public health hazard.

In Redington's evaluation of facts and law related to the denial, the county counselor concludes that the Department of Health made the correct decision to deny the permit.

"Based on the facts and law cited herein, applicant's appeal from director's denial of a waste transfer facility must be denied and the director's decision upheld," according to her evaluation formally submitted to councilmen Jan. 27.

Councilmen will review the document and either reject or support it during an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting, Redington told the Call, in which councilmen will meet in executive session with the public's presence permitted, but the public will not be able to speak during the meeting.

The Committee of the Whole meeting had not been scheduled by the time the Call went to press on Monday.

Redington suggested in her findings that Fred Weber's proposed trash-transfer station would have violated the county's 55-decibel Noise Control Code because the company stated in its application the station's noise levels would be below 85 decibels.

"Applicant failed to demonstrate that director erred in concluding that the decibel level would violate the Noise Control Code, which means that approval of the facility could violate ordinances of St. Louis County," according to Redington's evaluation.

She also concluded that the proposed waste facility would have been within 1,000 feet of certain properties that would have violated a county ordinance enacted this fall by councilmen.

The ordinance, introduced by Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, prohibits waste facilities from resting within 1,000 feet of residences, churches, and buildings that support adult care and child care.

"Counsel for applicant also admitted that the proposed facility does not comply with the 1,000-foot-restriction established by Ordinance No. 21,525 (Tr. 5). Operation of applicant's plan as approved would therefore violate an ordinance of St. Louis County,'' according to the county counselor's evaluation.

Redington also asserts that the health department was correct in denying the application on the grounds that the company inappropriately would handle hot loads inside the building, the company did not provide a maintenance plan for its retention ponds to prevent weed growth and standing water, and that the inside radius for truck turns inside the facility would have been insufficient.

Standley told the Call he had not read the county counselor's evaluation of the evidence and would not comment on the matter.

"We wouldn't know how to respond until we actually see the documents," he said. "We have absolutely no response."

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