- IESI Bethlehem in Lower Saucon Township, PA and Chrin Brothers Sanitary Landfill in the state’s Williams Township have filed for permits with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to expand. IESI Bethlehem projects it will be out of space in 2.8 years and Chrin Brothers projects it will be out of space in four years.
- IESI is requesting a 6-acre expansion and 22.25 more acres at the existing landfill, to meet demands for about six years. According to The (Allentown) Morning Call, the company also wants 83 adjoining acres in Lower Saucon to be rezoned to allow further expansion. Chrin requested a 33-acre expansion next to its landfill to add 10 years to its life cycle.
- Residents in both counties have filed lawsuits to block the expansions, complaining of odors and health concerns. The township has not yet voted on the expansion.
Both landfill operators stand firm that expansion is necessary, while opponents argue that Pennsylvania's 41 municipal landfills have a combined life cycle of 27 years. Twenty-six of them have more than a decade of space left, according to DEP calculations. Further, planners argue that recycling laws are helping preserve landfills.
Thus, Lehigh and Northampton counties would be able to find landfill space if both Chrin and IESI’s permits were denied, said David Minnear, senior project manager with civil engineering firm LR Kimball in Ebensburg, Cambria County.
A recent DEP inspection found high methane levels at IESI’s site. And there is controversy surrounding the Chrin Brothers landfill tied to issues such as a mudslide and the alleged nonpayment of back taxes.
Both landfill operators say if they cannot grow, they will run out of space by 2019 and that other alternatives will come with a higher cost.