Last updated: September 06. 2013 4:06PM - 16 Views

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[caption width="250" caption=" This graph shows the 26.5-acre property being purchased by Delaware City just north of the former Curve Road landfill. GAZETTE GRAPHIC | HALLEY MILLER "][/caption]

Delaware City is purchasing several acres of land next to its closed landfill on Curve Road following an out-of-court settlement with Cactus Hollow Development, LLC.

City council this week approved the settlement cost of $856,250 to purchase the 26.5-acre property north of the former Curve Road landfill and west of the Mill Run Crossing wetlands park from Cactus Hollow Development, LLC and the Delaware County Bank.

Appraisers for Cactus Hollow and the bank put the value of the property at $1.9 million. The City’s appraisal was $470,000. The settlement resolves litigation dating back to 2009 when it was discovered by Cactus Hollow Development that methane gas was seeping from the landfill.

“This settlement accomplishes two important goals,” Delaware City Manager Tom Homan said. “It removes liability that the City would have had to deal with, and it avoids litigation that would have had an unknown outcome.”

Methane traces were detected by the property owner in late 2008, City spokesman Lee Yoakum said. Both the property owner and City continued tests in 2009 to confirm the fact, then began discussions on the City taking responsibility of the property.

The tests showed that the methane gases were migrating north, so the property purchase will provide a barrier, Yoakum said.

“Any farther migration will be on property the City already owns as tests show now,” Yoakum said.

After a series of filings, the two entities reached a settlement through mediation in February.

“This is an issue that cities across the country are dealing with, either through methane monitoring or litigation,” Homan said.

Since methane is a colorless and odorless gas, ground testings are conducted annually on the City’s two landfills — the other landfill, which is also out of operation, is located on Cherry Street on the City’s former public works site.

Although the City won’t be required to conduct future methane testing at the Curve Road landfill, the City may choose to do so, Yoakum said. Since City Public Utilities employees work near the closed Cherry Street landfill, testing requirements are stricter and will continue annually.

More than $90,000 is budgeted this year for landfill-related issues, whether for monitoring, assessment or remediation, Yoakum said. This also includes leachate testing, groundwater monitoring and methane testing.

The City’s Curve Road landfill was in use for 18 years between 1973 and 1991. City refuse is now hauled to the Delaware County Solid Waste Transfer Station and transported to a private landfill, Yoakum said.

Landfill methane is generated during the natural process of bacterial decomposition of organic material contained in landfills, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

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