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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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Landfill vertical expansion explored

King George officials have been considering vertical expansion and gathering information about it since Waste Management District Manager Tom Cue first floated the idea more than a year and a half ago.

That took place at a meeting regular board in January 2013, during one of Cue’s regular quarterly reports. At that time he requested permission to have an engineering firm put together some preliminary drawings and renderings for the board and DEQ to examine.

Those were brought back at a meeting in June of last year, with slides of rendered photos showing how the finished landfill would look from roads and subdivisions around the landfill site.

From many vantage points, the proposed higher top of the elevated section would be obscured by the existing tree line.

The pictures also indicated how the contouring would be accomplished, with Cue saying capped cells would not be reopened during the process. Instead, the sides of the landfill would be raised and contoured by adding more disposal cells along the sides and going up.

Eventually, a new cap would be constructed over the final 100-acre plateau that would be raised 100 feet higher than currently permitted, about 30 or so years from now. The new cap would attach to the existing cap and more gas and water collection systems would likewise be added.

The landfill has a modern capping system, said by DEQ and independent engineers to exceed requirements.

Importantly, the landfill has a triple liner system, the only one in the state and perhaps the nation that is triple lined.
It meets standards for acceptance of hazardous materials, which are not taken by the landfill and not allowed under the contract and the existing permit.

LANDFILL HEIGHT AND VISIT TO SUSSEX
The existing landfill contract approved in August 1993 addresses the landfill height, saying, “At no time shall the height of the surface of the facility exceed 275 feet from sea level…”

The new contract amendment would change that with state regulatory approval.

In early May, Cue took Supervisors on a visit to the Sussex County Landfill, also operated by Waste Management, as Atlantic Waste Disposal, Inc. That landfill is currently higher than 300 feet and has a permitted height to go to 510 feet.
Should the permitted height of the King George landfill be approved by DEQ, it would not be out of line with the heights of other landfills in the state or in the nation.

The average height of a landfill in the United States is 320 feet.

There are two landfills in Fairfax County permitted at over 300 feet high, and one at Bethel near Newport News is currently about 200 feet high and is permitted to go to 375 feet.

BACKGROUND
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 landfill tipping fee of $5 per ton brings in about $6.2 million in revenue each year, which is used to make payments on the debt incurred for capital projects, primarily new schools, along with some civic projects, including the new Sheriff’s office building and the expansion of the Smoot Library.

Not only does the regional 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.

Phyllis Cook
Staff Reporter

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