- Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 June 2013 11:10
- Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 11:06
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Waste Management District Manager Tom Cue provided information to King George Supervisors at last week’s meeting on June 4, indicating what the visual effect would be of a proposed vertical expansion of the landfill by allowing it to go 100 feet higher.
The existing language in the landfill contract addresses the landfill height, saying, “At no time shall the height of the surface of the facility exceed 275 feet from sea level…”
The primary benefit to the county of the proposed expansion would be that it would add about 15 more years to the life of the landfill. That means close to an additional $100,000,000 for the county over that extended timeframe.
Cue estimated that the landfill currently still has about 15 years of life, meaning a total of about 30 more years of dependable annual income of about $6.2 million per year, with his proposed vertical expansion.
VERTICAL EXPANSION BEING EXPLORED
Cue had first publicly broached the topic of possible landfill expansion six months ago when it was brought up as part of one of his regular quarterly reports to the Board of Supervisors.
The proposal is being very carefully and publicly considered.
In addition to formal county approval by a vote of the Board of Supervisors for any expansion, approval would also need to be obtained from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for an amendment to the landfill permit.
At last week’s meeting, Cue brought slides of photos with renderings added to indicate what increasing the height would look like from roads and subdivisions around the landfill site.
In many cases, the proposed higher top of the elevated section would be obscured by the existing tree line. Cue’s slides also indicated how the contouring would be accomplished along with a preliminary drawing by an engineering firm.
Cue noted that it would take the additional 15 years for it to reach that height which would be contoured and capped.
Supervisors wanted to know how an increase in height would affect the existing cells that are capped. Cue said they would never open up capped cells. Instead, the sides of the landfill would be raised and contoured by adding more cells and a new cap added over the final 100 acre plateau that would actually be raised the additional 100 feet higher, if allowed and permitted.
The new cap would attach to the existing cap and more gas and water collection systems would likewise be added.
Cue reminded Supervisors, saying, “According to DEQ and to independent engineers the capping system that we have is more than sufficient. We also are triple lined. We are the only one in the state and maybe in the nation that is triple lined. We actually are lined for hazardous material and we don’t take any. And we’re not allowed to.”
Cue said if the proposed height of the landfill were to be approved, that it would not be out of line with the heights of other landfills in the state and in the nation. He noted that Fairfax County has two landfills which are already over 300-feet high, one in Sussex County is permitted at a height of 510 feet and one at Bethel near Newport News is permitted to go to 375 feet.
He added that the average height of a landfill in the United States is 320 feet.
Cue offered to take Supervisors on a tour of tall landfills around the state, so they can get a better idea of how they look. Dates are to be discussed at the next meeting of the board on June 25.
The landfill contract was initially approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 1993. Following permitting by DEQ and construction of its first cells, it began operations in November 1996.
The county receives $5 per ton which brings in about $6.2 million in revenue each year. The funds are used to make payments on the debt incurred for construction of capital projects, primarily schools, along with some civic projects, including the new Sheriff’s office building and the expansion of the Smoot Library.
Not only does the landfill bring in revenue, it also saves the county the huge municipal expense of disposing of waste generated by county residents and businesses, along with decades of costly environmental monitoring of a municipal landfill, or trucking and disposal costs of transporting county waste to a facility in another jurisdiction.
OTHER LANDFILL NEWS
Cue also said that 14 new gas wells have been added in the last quarter and they have improved vacuum to 10 existing wells as a proactive strategy to stay ahead of any gas odors, as well as to turn existing gas into revenue for Waste Management and for the county. Cue noted that they are in the process of permanently capping 15 more acres.
He noted that his Pick-For-Pay program has been successful, with organized trash pick-ups taking place and $500 donations going to several organizations in the county and beyond, including the Rotary Club, Boy Scouts Venture Crew 172, Eden Estates Swim Team, and with New Life Ministries of Colonial Beach scheduled, along with a date to be set for the Ralph Bunche Alumni Association.