Brundidge considers modifying landfill permit

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 20, 2001

Features Editor

A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m . Dec. 31 at Brundidge Station on a request by BFI to expand its 18-county permit to allow sanitary solid waste to be brought to the Brundidge landfill from three states – Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

BFI opened the Brundidge landfill Nov.1 on an existing permit granted to the Brundidge City Council in 1992 by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management with an allowed maximum capacity of 1,500 tons a day. The modified permit would allow a maximum of 3,500 tons a day.

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The additional daily tonnage would mean more money in the city’s coffers.

Under the current contract if the landfill receives the maximum of 1,500 tons a day, the city will pocket $742,000 a year. The expanded permit could bring in $1.7 million a year with maximum daily dumping, said Britt Thomas, city manager.

"Pursuant to regulation guidelines and Alabama law, BFI has asked the city council to consider including Alabama, Florida and Georgia in its permit," Thomas said. "A request of a governmental entity by an Alabama company must be considered within a 90-day period of reception. A public hearing must be held with public notice given 15 days prior to the hearing. Then, the council has another 90-day window in which to reply ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If no action is taken on the request, it is presumed to be approved and the permit modification will be allowed."

What the modified permit would mean to the city is that it would have an enlarged partnership with BFI.

"Brundidge and BFI are partners and, in public and private partnerships, benefits are expected on both sides," Thomas said. "Of course, BFI’s intention is to make money.

"But, if the expansion is granted, it must

be beneficial to Brundidge. The council will not approve the request unless it is determined that it is in the best interest of the community – from a community standpoint and from a financial standpoint and it’s hard to untie the two."

Thomas said public perception of landfills is often negative.

"But, in Brundidge, we have been proactive," he said. "We have had a $10 million idle asset (landfill) here since 1992 and our goal has been to get it open. We have tried everything – even buying the landfill. It’s been a roller coaster ride."

Thomas said response he has heard to the opening of the

landfill has been positive.

"I think people understand it is a sanitary solid waste landfill and that nothing is put in it except what people put in their garbage cans at home. There is absolutely no hazardous waste of any kind, form or fashion in it."

Thomas said the sanitary solid waste from more distant locations would be brought in by rail, placed in sealed containers and loaded on flatbed trucks to be taken to the landfill.

The movement of the waste would not cause any traffic problems for residents or travelers.

One of the major benefits of the expanded permit could mean stabilized disposal cost for Pike County for the life of the 600-acre landfill which, at 1,500 a day would have an air space life of 75 years.

Subtitle D solid waste landfills build mounds of limited "air space." When a landfill area is filled to capacity, it is a prime area for a park, a golf course, or a similar use. The World Trade Center was built on a former landfill site.

"Twenty-years ago, we dug a hole and dumped everything from household garbage to pesticides and DDT into it," Thomas said. "Today, a Subtitle D sanitary landfill has a liner that collects the liquids which are pumped to a waste water treatment station before going back into the environment."

Thomas said he has no idea where garbage disposal in headed.

Years from now it could be zapped with a laser gun.

"But at this time, we have to trust that scientists are correct in the way we are required to dispose of solid waste," he said. "We must put our faith in that. And, assuming they are right, it won’t matter if we dispose of 1,500 tons a day or 3,500. The result will be the same. We will return treated liquid waste to the environment and enhance the cells once they are completed."

Thomas said the public is encourage to attend the Dec. 31 to ask questions, express concerns or state opinions.

Those who are unable to attend may provide written comments to the City of Brundidge, P.O. Box 638, Brundidge, AL 36010.