Sunday, June 22, 2014

Holt landfill operator seeks to triple capacity

Nearby residents oppose request, citing traffic, safety

Landfill (From Tuscaloosa News)
A Rumsey Environmental waste truck makes it's way down 12th Street toward the Eagle Bluff Landfill to dump a load of debris on Wednesday June 18, 2014. Advanced Disposal has proposed a volume increase for the landfill from 1000 yards of construction debris a day up to 3000 yards per day. The Eagle Landing landfill receives debris from the city's of Northport and Tuscaloosa, the Tuscaloosa Department of Transportation, and the Alabama Department of Transportation. The Tuscaloosa News | Erin Nelson
Tuscaloosa News
Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:04 p.m.
The owners of a construction and demolition landfill in Holt are seeking approval from the Tuscaloosa County Commission to triple the amount of debris that can be brought in each day.
Local residents aren't happy about the request. The only way in and out of the dump is a two-lane residential road — 12th Street Northeast — lined by small homes and trailers.
“It's enough as it is, with trucks coming in and out too fast throughout the day,” said resident Crystal Curry, while her young daughter played on a scooter in the yard.
Advanced Disposal, which owns the Eagle Bluff landfill, has requested a modification of its permit to increase the intake at the landfill from 1,000 yards of construction and demolition debris a day to 3,000 yards per day.
The reason for the request is the huge demand with all the demolition and construction projects going on in Tuscaloosa, said Mary O'Brien, chief marketing officer for Advanced Disposal. There are only two landfills specifically for construction debris in Tuscaloosa County.
“Luckily for Alabama, the economy is coming back, and there is definitely a greater need for the services (we) provide, for the environmentally safe disposal of construction debris.”
The landfill's customers include private companies as well as the city of Northport and the Tuscaloosa Environmental Services Department. The city of Tuscaloosa used to dump debris at the landfill only twice a week, but it now bring loads four times a week, O'Brien said. The dump does not take any kind garbage other than construction or demolition debris.
“The economy is now stronger and the demand for our services has grown,” O'Brien said.
The actual landfill is not increasing its footprint or its size, she said. For every yard that is disposed at the landfill, 25 cents is also paid to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. If 1,000 yards a day is brought in year round, that totals to about $65,000 back to the state. If the increase is approved, that could mean up to $195,000 a year back to the state.
The landfill is permitted by the state to fill up to 455 meters above sea level, and is currently at 388 meters.
State Rep. Bill Poole, R-
Tuscaloosa, who was present for a hearing on the request Wednesday, said he supports the proposal based on the cost-benefit to the community as a whole, he said.
“I think there is clearly a need for the additional capacity,” Poole said. “I think it's appropriate and a needed request and will serve our community well.”
But residents of 12th Street in Holt don't see it that way. The landfill, which is located a half mile behind Holt Elementary, is surrounded by older homes, with many elderly residents.
“Some of those trucks been going 40 miles per hour through here, blowing up all kinds of dust,” said Theodore Maynor, who is in his 90s.
The speed limit on the road is 25 miles per hour. According to a county traffic study, the average speed of the traffic on the road is 28 miles per hour, with an average traffic count of 240 vehicles a day. The street is one way in and one way out, with the landfill at the end of the street.
“It's too much traffic going down now, we don't want it to be even more,” Maynor said.
Maynor's neighbor, Tareq Lowe, said he's had to replace his mailbox three times and replace his trash can twice because they were hit by the trucks going to the landfill. The traffic has gotten worse, he said, especially since after the April 27, 2011, tornado. His home has been in his family since the 1960s.
“I can't put my trash can out by the mailbox because they'll hit it,” Lowe said.
Lowe said he doesn't trust letting his 3-year-old daughter play outside because of the trucks and the dust caused by the traffic.
“I'll take her to a park instead,” Lowe said.
Commissioner Jerry Tingle, who represents the Holt area, said he hasn't made up his mind yet on the request, but the fact that the landfill is at the end of a residential street concerns him.
I'm considering both sides, but it is a residential street. That's a real concern I have,” Tingle said, pointing to problems with dust, speed and safety. “I have to listen to the people because they are the ones who are having to live with it,” he said.
The request will be discussed by the Tuscaloosa County Commission during its regular meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
Reach Lydia Seabol Avant at 205-722-0222 or lydia.seabol

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