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Moratorium on trash-transfer stations extended six months by councilmen

Companies wishing to establish a trash-transfer station in unincorporated St. Louis county now will have to wait until next fall before they even can apply for a license.

The County Council last week unanimously approved legislation extending a six-month freeze on issuing licenses for solid-waste processing facilities or trash-transfer stations for another six months.

Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, also recently selected an Oakville resident to serve on a panel that will help evaluate the county's need for waste-processing facilities during the now 12-month moratorium.

The motion prohibiting the Department of Health from processing new applications for such facilities passed, 5-0, during the March 2 session. Councilman Mike O'Mara, D-north county, was absent from the meeting.

Campisi authored the original ordinance calling for a six-month moratorium last fall and an ordinance that prohibits waste facilities from being within 1,000 feet of residences, schools, churches and child- and adult-care centers.

The moratorium was intended to let specialists study the unincorporated areas of the county and identify where, accounting for the 1,000-foot restriction, waste-processing facilities could be developed. The study also was intended to determine the level of need for waste-processing facilities and trash-transfer stations in the unincorporated areas of the county, according to Campisi.

The original moratorium, which became effective Oct. 2, now will last one year to give a recently hired consulting firm enough time to conduct the study and develop a Solid-Waste Management Plan, according to county officials.

The consultant that was selected by the county to perform the study, R.W. Beck of Cincinnati, Ohio, will conduct seven public hearings to gather community input before formulating the plan.

A hearing for south county residents will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. today — March 11 — at Lindbergh High School, 4900 S. Lindbergh Blvd. Call 615-8958 for dates and times of the other meetings that will be conducted in different parts of the county.

The firm estimates it will take six to nine months to complete the study.

R.W. Beck also will work with a solid-waste advisory panel, comprised of community members appointed by each district's county councilman, to formulate the plan.

Campisi recently appointed Tom Diehl, an activist from Oakville, to serve as the 6th District's representative on the panel.

"Tom Diehl is the most active person in that group," Campisi told the Call, referring to a group of Oakville residents who have opposed the development of a trash-transfer station in Oakville. "By far, he was the most appropriate person for the job."

For more than a year, Diehl has spoken publicly of his opposition to Fred Weber Inc.'s attempts to establish a trash-transfer station in Oakville. He has spoken at numerous council meetings and two public hearings on the company's current trash-transfer application to construct a facility at 4200 Baumgartner Road, inside Fred Weber's south quarry.

Diehl submitted a petition with 150 signatures to the council March 2, requesting that the county conduct soil- and water-sample testing in and around asphalt piles that currently sit in Fred Weber's south quarry near Mattese Creek and the Meramec River.

The petitioners, according to Diehl, are people who live near the quarry and are concerned with potential contamination from the asphalt piles.

"Asphalt is a health hazard. This stuff was placed here illegally,'' he alleged during an interview with the Call. "It's been sitting there through a number of different floods over the years ... and there's a risk until we know that it is not a risk."

The Department of Zoning currently is investigating Fred Weber's south quarry and on Feb. 23 gave the company 30 days, according to a zoning department letter that identified numerous environmental and zoning violations, to address the violations and submit a response to the department.

Councilmen told Diehl they would look into the matter regarding the asphalt piles.

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