- Gerard Brewer, public works director of Alexander City, AL, is concerned that no solution has been found for what to do after the local yard waste and construction debris landfill hits capacity.
- Tallapoosa County commissioners voted against a plan to use a separate parcel of city-owned land last year and no other viable options have been identified since then.
- Brewer estimates that the site has 4.5 years of capacity left at most and the earliest a new site could be open is 2019 if the state approval process began immediately. After that, the city may have to suspend yard waste collection because exporting would be too expensive.
While some have suggested the landfill expand at its current site, Brewer says that's not possible because the area has too many rock formations. The issue with the other parcel of land is that it is outside of city limits and requires county approval. Environmental testing has already been conducted on the 200-acre site, but last year marked the second time that the county voted against the idea.
The main reason the plan hasn't moved forward is public opposition. Local residents are particularly concerned about traffic and groundwater contamination, and while officials have assured them that no household or commercial waste would be dumped at the site — greatly reducing the potential for odors — the idea is still unpopular.
Planning ahead for what to do when a landfill reaches capacity is always beneficial. Conducting surveys, applying for permits, and engaging with local communities is time-consuming and even if the process is started early it can sometimes take years. Recently, the last active landfill in Virginia's Accomack County warned that it could run out of capacity this year while waiting for the state to approve an expansion, and the expansion of Alabama's Dothan Landfill was further delayed due to paperwork issues.