Leader Blues

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

TOP STORY >>Landfill gets hearing

Leader staff writer

There are two weeks left to submit public comments on a proposed Jacksonville landfill expansion that would sit between the city and Sherwood along Hwy. 67/167.

Two Pine, the private waste management that operates the site, has altered its original plans with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, the state department that monitors landfills and other potential environmental hazards.

The alteration calls for expanding the landfill’s current location, at the junction of the North Belt Freeway (1-440 and Hwy. 167/67 and the Union Pacific Railroad). This is not the first time Two Pines has filed plans to alter the landfill’s original permit.

“What has been applied for is an expansion to the existing landfill. It will exist across from the I-440 inter change,” engineer supervisor Bryan Leamons said. He and his staff have surveyed the landfill for suitability.

Leamons said no comments have been received by ADEQ. He wouldn’t say if the landfill expansion permit would definitely be approved but said a decision will be based on how the public perceives the proposal. “I couldn’t say,” he said. “(It) depends on comments and responses.”

The department issued a decision last month on the draft permit. A final decision will be made after the comment period ends.

Two Pine has worked on expanding the Jacksonville landfill since 1973. The site was created that year as a dumping ground for Little Rock trash. In August 2006, Two Pine submitted plans to ADEQ to begin expanding the landfill across the North Belt.

The landfill now processes about 152,000 tons — or 458,000 cubic yards — of garbage a year and accepts trash from Jacksonville, Sherwood, Cabot, Conway, rural Pulaski County and as far away as Garland County.

The expansion would increase trash at the landfill to 896,000 cubic yards a year. The projected active life for the landfill would be about 24 years. Interested parties can acquire evidence submitted by Two Pine by calling ADEQ at 501-682-0602.

The expansion permit states that no more than 50 acres could be used for disposal. The landfill currently sits on about 239.5 acres.

Two wetland areas near the site will be affected by the expansion, according to the ADEQ’s permit summary.

A drainage channel that is approximately .2 acres and runs northwest between the current area and the cultivated area at the site would also be affected along with a narrow strip of woods that extends south from the Missouri-Pacific Railroad into the proposed area and comprises 4.7 acres of wetland drainage. More than nine acres of bottomland hardwood forest will adjoin the proposed landfill expansion area.

Wetland mitigation would be directed toward 43 acres of property previously cultivated for soybeans that will be restored to bottomland hardwood forest.

Bayou Meto stream is about a half-mile north of the landfill. Two Pine has augmented surface drainage of the landfill site by a series of drainage ways that channel water to the northwest, discharging into Brushy Island Creek and back into Bayou Meto.

More than 100 Sherwood and Jacksonville residents live within two miles of the dump.Any interested person may submit written comments concerning the draft permit decision.

Comments can be mailed to the Solid Waste Management Division; Arkansas Department of Environmental Equality; 5301 Northshore Drive; North Little Rock, Ark., 72218. Comments can be submitted until Feb.19. Only people who submit comments will have legal standing to appeal ADEQ’s final decision.