Leader Blues

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TOP STORY > >Rain delays opening of new landfill

By ALIYA FELDMAN
Leader staff writer

The expansion of the landfill located in Jacksonville — which stores household trash and industrial and commercial garbage from Jacksonville, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, Beebe, Bald Knob, Sherwood, Faulkner County, Mayflower, Judsonia and unincorporated parts of Pulaski County — has been stalled because of wet weather.

Trash will continue to be dumped in the current landfill until the new site is completed. Originally planned to be used for 24 years, its operator now projects the new dump may be used as long as 40.

At a Jacksonville City Council meeting in March, David Conrad of Two Pine Landfill told the council that the existing landfill would be full by September. But rainy weather has slowed construction of the new landfill, he said Monday.

Waste Management, owner of the Two Pine site at the intersection of I-440 and Hwy. 67/167, received state approval for the construction of the new site in April.

Two Pine’s expansion will become a 240-acre site capable of holding 34.4 mil ion cubic yards of trash. The dump will be 462 feet above sea level. It will have the capacity to grow nearly three times the size it is now.

“Construction has been slow this summer due to all the wet weather,” Conrad explained. “Otherwise, construction is going well.”

He said that the first section of the new landfill, called cells, will be completed “by mid- to late-September and begin filling in the new cell in October.”

“For a short period of time, Waste Management will be landfilling in both the existing landfill and the new landfill, until the existing landfill achieves final grades,” Conrad added.

He expects the current dump will be used until late this year.

“The existing landfill is not at capacity,” he said. “It is quickly reaching capacity.”

The first cell is 10.9 acres, and is being built along with the liner system.

“In addition, we are installing the associated electrical systems, roads, parking areas and a sedimentation basin,” he said.

Completion of a flood-relief channel, perimeter roads, litter fencing and a 43-acre wetlands preserve will soon follow.

Trash will be dumped only at the new site beginning early 2009. “We will begin capping of the existing landfill in 2009,” Conrad said.

“There are 16 cells planned for the 144.5-acre expansion area,” he added.

“Our current calculations suggest the 144.5-acre expansion area could last from 25 years to 40 years, depending on how fast waste is received,” he said. “That being said, construction will be ongoing, but we don’t expect to be constructing cells every year.”

About 50 Jacksonville and Sherwood residents concerned about growth of the already gargantuan dump appeared at a meeting at the Jacksonville Community Center in April held by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

Concerns were expressed about worsened flooding of Dupree Park, depreciation of property values, trash potentially ending up in waterways, smell, noise and the unsightly mound at Jacksonville’s south entrance.

The landfill’s permit states that drainage ways will be built to channel water into Brushy Island Creek and eventually into Bayou Meto. That water often floods Dupree Park when it rains.

ADEQ requires the dump be at least 300 feet from a residence, and 100 feet from a property boundary.

At the meeting in April, ADEQ representatives said federal law requires the location to be 1,000 feet from the interstate or highway unless there is a landscaping plan for operational screening.