Another landfill proposed for Madison County

For the second time, a solid waste municipal landfill is being proposed on North County Line Road, just outside Ridgeland city limits.

The first attempt was made and then denied due to setbacks in 2010. The group wanted to operate a landfill east of the Madison South Landfill, also located on North County Line Road and commonly known as “Little Dixie.”

Now, a new group, NCL (North County Line) Waste LLC, is proposing the same landfill. If approved the county would have three landfills making it the only county in the state with more than one. The other landfills are located in Canton and on County Line Road.

“Years ago, there was one filed for this exact same location, and there was quite an uproar, lots of public involvement in various meetings,” said Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith.

The proposal was denied by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) unless it was altered to include a 500-foot variance. The original proposal included only a 250-foot variance.

“The DEQ permit board denied the previous application because it was submitted with a 250-foot setback around the property line. They directed it had to be a 500-foot setback,” said Smith.

Bilberry, the previous group proposing the landfill in 2010, never appealed MDEQ’s decision. 

This new landfill proposes a 250-foot variance between the edge of the waste area and the NCL property line, and a 500-foot buffer zone between the waste area and the nearest residences, according to the NCL question and answer packet.

The acreage totals 166, with 77 acres of wooded area remaining around the 89-acre proposed waste site.

“There’s a huge landfill to the west that is called Little Dixie. It’s a municipal solid waste landfill and it takes garbage from 22 surrounding counties and three surrounding states,” said Smith. “The new one is immediately adjoining of the existing one.”

Little Dixie has been serving the Jackson area since 2007, and is nearing the end of its useful life.

NCL Waste had a meeting with residents near the proposed landfill February 21 at Potter’s House Fellowship Baptist Church. Questions and answers were distributed.

“The developer notified people living within one mile of the proposed site… There were a number of concerned citizens that asked questions and spoke out.”

According to Smith, MDEQ representatives have not yet taken any action on the proposal.

The question and answer packet said MDEQ will most likely hold a public hearing on the proposal sometime this summer (mid-2017).

What’s more, the city of Ridgeland passed a resolution in 2011 stating that it would not approve any landfills within the city limits, but this one is located just outside Ridgeland borders.

“There are thousands of undeveloped (acres) on the western part of Ridgeland,” said Smith. “Nothing meaningful is going to happen as long as these landfills are out there.”

Smith said many residents on Greens Crossing and Rouser roads are concerned about the additional landfill.

“All of the 18 municipal solid waste landfills (in the state) are located on major thoroughfares, where it’s easy access for these huge garbage trucks to deliver back and forth,” said Smith. “In the case of Little Dixie, there’s no direct access. You have to drive on North County Line or, if you come from the north, you have to come in from Greens Crossing.”

Smith said with no development on the south end of Highland Colony Parkway, hundreds of garbage trucks use that road to enter West County Line Road and access the current landfill.

“The road is in pretty bad condition, and that’s just one of the things. This is just not the right location… Whenever they started Little Dixie, it was pretty much out in the country. Now it’s no longer in the country.”

Smith said the issue affects all Northsiders, but the location is also an issue of environmental discrimination.

“It’s mostly blacks that are directly affected because they live in close proximity to (the landfill). It’s just amazing to me that developers continue to try to put these obnoxious developments close to minority neighborhoods.”

 

North Livingston resident Sylvia Thomas has taken an active interest in opposing this landfill as well as the one proposed seven years ago.

“There have been developers trying to put a second landfill in this particular area for many years,” Thomas said. “I became involved in 2009.”

Thomas said she went before the Madison County Board of Supervisors earlier this year to ask them to amend the solid waste plan and not approve the current proposal. She has not heard back.

Trey Baxter, District 2 supervisor and board president, said the board as a whole is currently not in favor of a third landfill.

“That landfill has been tossed around for 15 years… A new owner has come in and bought the property. Apparently it’s in the county waste disposal plan,” Baxter said.

Baxter said the plan is updated every few years.

“It is in the plan and has been, it just never got approved. I don’t know that it’s going to get approved.”

According to the supervisor, the proposal has to go through the county before it goes before the MDEQ permit board.

“I don’t know that we’re going to approve it. Right now, there’s no support from the board of supervisors to approve it… It’s my understanding that the one that’s already down there is running out of capacity. Canton’s in the process of adding more room.”

Baxter said it’s possible that if Canton is in the process of adding more room to its landfill, there wouldn’t be a need to add another landfill next to the Madison South Landfill.

The county also has the option of shipping waste to other counties, just as more than 60 counties throughout the state already do.

“The only kicker is, if we approve this landfill, the county will get $18 million, because we charge to dispose of waste inside the county. For every ton of waste, we get a percentage and the rest goes to the owners of the landfill.”

Baxter said despite the $18 million perk of having a third landfill, the board is currently not in favor of it.

The Madison South Landfill and the proposed NCL Waste landfill is in District 4, represented by Supervisor David Bishop.

 

NCL Waste said the state follows MDEQ regulations that determine there is need for additional landfill space.

“The ‘need’ portion of the regulations can be found in MDEQ’s Nonhazardous Regulations (11 Miss Administrative Code, Part 4, Chapter 2). Additionally, Madison County has developed a 20-year plan for handling solid waste, which includes the proposed North County Line Road site.”

NCL said that to determine need, the MDEQ looks at available landfill space, transportation distances, number of households, waste generated in the area, and other factors.

“A suitable location that is within a reasonable transportation range of where the waste is generated must be determined,” the company said. “Due to the complexity of zoning, planning and permitting of new municipal solid waste landfills, the location process can easily take five to 10 years or longer.”

They added that construction and certification of landfills can take at least six months.

The company said other counties could be considered for the proposed landfill, but that Madison County meets all the transportation and siting criteria.

“The area of Madison County being proposed for a new landfill has great geology and meets all the siting criteria,” they said. “The topography, geology and its proximity to major population centers make the area a logical location for siting a landfill.”

NCL Waste added that there is a demonstrated need for additional landfill space in the metro area, as current landfills now have limited lifespans.

“The science shows that modern landfills can be designed and constructed to be protective of groundwater, especially in an area like this site in Madison County that has extensive clays and good geology.”

*All NCL Waste quotes were sent via email, and were discussed and crafted by FC&E Engineering, Tatum & Associates, Beyond Communication and Butler Snow.

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