(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced aggressive enforcement measures to prevent a Jefferson County landfill from illegally dumping industrial wastewater into the environment.
At the request of Yost’s office, Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Michelle Miller has ordered Joseph Scugoza to follow a strict schedule for closing the Crossridge Landfill by October 2020.
“This guy has no problem trashing the public’s waterways if it saves him a few bucks,” Yost said. “We can’t allow this reckless abuse of the state’s natural resources to continue.”
Scugoza has repeatedly ignored prior court orders barring him from dumping waste and requiring him to close the landfill, located in Wintersville. This time, he faces the possibility of imprisonment and restricted access to the property if he fails to comply. The court is requiring his presence at an Oct. 7 hearing to evaluate his progress.
Additionally, Scugoza can no longer run his business, Phoenix Off-Road Park, or host events at the site unless he shows that all revenue is spent on environmental compliance.
The Crossridge Landfill has a long history of environmental violations dating back to 2003. Just this past month, local health officials conducting an inspection of the landfill found a hose pumping contaminated water, called leachate, from a 30,000-gallon collection tank into the nearby Cross Creek. The creek flows through Mingo Junction before reaching the Ohio River.
Leachate is an industrial waste produced as rain passes through a landfill. It can contain dangerous contaminants, posing a threat to human health and the environment. Treatment at a wastewater facility is required to make the substance safe.
Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section has three ongoing lawsuits against Scugoza, the most recent of which was filed on Sept. 6. His violations of Ohio’s environmental laws have resulted in civil penalties totaling more than $24 million that he has not paid.