Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

EDITORIAL >> Ban shale waste at Two Pine

The Jacksonville City Council should follow the lead of the Little Rock City Board of Directors and ban the dumping of natural gas waste at the local landfill.

Little Rock acted last week after residents complained about the diesel odor coming out of the landfill operated by BFI, but now Jacksonville’s Two Pine Landfill is the destination of choice for waste byproducts hauled in from the Fayetteville Shale north of here.

As Aliya Feldman has been reporting exclusively in The Leader, Two Pine received 225,969 tons of the oil-contaminated waste from January 2008 to February this year. After a short break, the shipment of such wastes resumed once again. Last Wednesday alone — the day after Little Rock banned such materials — Two Pine took in 25 loads, totaling between an estimated 125 to 500 tons of the toxic petroleum byproduct.

Until last week, when the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality banned the practice, the landfill had dumped the waste on top of the growing mounds, which are more susceptible to runoffs. Two Pine now buries the waste under the soil, which is still legal, although the state banned the practice for a while back in the 1990s.

Little Rock would not even allow BFI to bury the gas waste and banned its importation altogether. So now Two Pine gets a good chunk of that material, along with landfills in Pine Bluff, Hazen and DeWitt.

Aliya Feldman reports on today’s front page that Arkansas Reclamation Company of Beebe, which has been dumping waste at those landfills, has been fined by ADEQ for unsafe practices.

The Jacksonville City Council, which meets Thursday, should summon its courage and ban natural gas waste from Two Pine Landfill. That kind of hazardous waste does not belong in a city dump.