Sunny Farms invites community to check progress at open house

PHOTO BY BRET NYE Sunny Farm employees and community members mingle and board a tour bus at Sunny Farms Landfill near Fostoria at an open house Saturday afternoon.

FOSTORIA — Sunny Farms Landfill, Fostoria, hosted an open house Saturday afternoon to share the measures it has taken this summer to address issues that members of the community and local and state organizations have had with the company.

According to a release, the open house was meant to allow citizens to “voice questions or concerns and offer suggestions or ideas to the team” at Sunny Farms Saturday, as well as give area residents a chance to explore the facility through guided tours offered throughout the afternoon.

Kids and families were welcomed at the open house as well, with free pumpkins, face painting, bounce houses and food available throughout the day.

Brian Ezyk, environmental engineer and Sunny Farms’ Vice President of Environmental Compliance and Engineering, led some of the afternoon’s tours along with other members of the company.

Ezyk said he was brought in by Sunny Farms earlier this year to “make the facility the best it can be.”

“Sunny Farms’ issues are a thing of the past,” he said as he led a tour of the facility grounds Saturday.

Ezyk pointed out the landfill’s gas treatment system as the tour bus drove by and explained there were hundreds of miles of interconnected piping cutting through the hills of waste that collect the gas. A handout Sunny Farms provided to open house attendees stated the company recently had spent more than $6 million on new technology and equipment to update the facility’s gas collection and treatment capabilities.

“Because Sunny Farms accepts a majority of construction and demolition materials, it has a particularly large amount of hydrogen sulfide coming from that type of waste which produces the rotten egg smell people have complained about in the past,” he said. “This problem is unique to Sunny Farms.”

The gas treatment system is meant to collect and “consume” the hydrogen sulfide, he said. The remaining material is turned into natural gas which can be sold or used.

“The biggest focus now is to collect the gas as soon as it’s generated and not wait for it to smell,” he said.

Ezyk also discussed an odor-control blanket that covers a large portion of the landfill’s waste which Sunny Farms constructed, helping to trap gases inside before they can escape into the air. The landfill had until April to complete this project, according to an Ohio EPA ruling, Ezyk said.

The landfill also has installed three permanent monitors to test for hydrogen sulfide in the air around the facility, the readings for which can be accessed by the Ohio EPA and Health Department on demand, he said.

At the end of the tour, an attendee who said he lived near Sunny Farms complained of a recent bad odor he believed had been emanating from the landfill. Ezyk said it resulted from the company changing gas pipe operations, which they must do from time to time, and the company is quick to investigate any complaint it hears, from the EPA or from residents.

“It shouldn’t ever be the way it was again,” he said.

For more information about the landfill and ongoing compliance and odor-control measures the company is undertaking, Sunny Farms’ website can be visited at sunnyfarmslandfill.com.