Pennsylvania approves plan for $56M expansion of Frey Farm Landfill

Dive Brief:

  • Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has given the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority an important approval that will allow plans for a $56 million expansion of the Frey Farm Landfill to move forward, as reported by Lancaster Online.
  • The 50-foot vertical expansion will be added to an already tall site and will attract up to 18 new trucks per day. In return the authority will pay Manor Township, the host community, $12 million over 10 years among other benefits.
  • The township already approved the expansion last summer and the final step is for the DEP to conduct a technical review of the authority's application before granting a permit as early as this spring. A group of residents opposed to the project has said they may try to challenge the decision.

Dive Insight:

While the DEP recognized that this expansion was not ideal, it wrote in a letter to the authority that "the benefit of the project to the public clearly outweighs the known and environmental harms." The main selling point is that Lancaster County needs more long-term landfill capacity. On a local level, Manor Township will also be receiving free waste collection plus the authority will fund litter clean-ups and public education in the county.

Last summerthe county authority also entered into a contract with Dutch company Inashco to process waste-to-energy ash for recovery of non-ferrous metals. Construction on the $14 million facility will begin this spring and once operational, it will help to further extend Frey Farm's capacity.

This is the latest in a series of somewhat contentious landfill expansions to be approved, showing that regional capacity needs can override community opposition when the right terms are reached. Two of the more recent examples include Casella agreeing to pay an additional $18 million for various community programs around a landfill operated by Casella in upstate New York and Republic Services receiving an expansion approval in California after funding odor mitigation upgrades.

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Filed Under: Landfill
Top image credit: LCSWMA