Solid Waste District Future Up In The Air

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The future of the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District is still unclear.

The board met today for the first time since Athens County Commissioners announced that they are considering splitting from the district.

"I don't think that's immediately in the cards, maybe down the road," says Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl about the possible split up.

Athens County is considering forming its own district because of disagreements about a proposed solid waste management plan.

The plan includes changes in the recycling procedures because new Ohio laws require that 25 percent of waste must be recycled. The district also needs a new recycling facility.

The solid waste plan has to be updated every five years.

If the district cannot decide on its own plan, the Environmental Protection Agency will draw one up.

This could potentially be more expensive for residents than a locally designed plan. It also means giving up control over the district's waste management.

Logan City Council has rejected three proposed waste district plans. Logan is the biggest city in Hocking County, which makes its vote crucial for the final decision.

Logan vetoed the last proposal by a vote of four to three.

The only hope to salvage the plan would be for Logan to reconsider.

"The plan is in the ratification process; it is due to be acted on by February 22 by all the villages, and entities in Athens and Hocking County," says Roger Bail, District Operations Coordinator.

"I think in the long term it's in our best interest as a community to really look at these solutions, not only in terms of a plan, but what's realistic and what's going to help these communities and be sustainable", says Kyle O'Keefe, Zero Waste Initiative Coordinator for Rural Action.