- The City Council of Zion, Illinois voted on May 21 to approve a request by Advanced Disposal Services to annex 110 acres of property in unincorporated Lake County for the potential expansion of the company's Zion Landfill.
- Advanced has already purchased nearby property, or inked agreements to purchase property, within the annexation area, as reported previously by the Lake County News-Sun. Once property annexation is complete, Advanced can work through a new siting agreement with the city.
- About a half-dozen residents spoke against the annexation and expansion, with more sitting in the audience to demonstrate solidarity. According to the News-Sun, residents have maintained a consistent legal and public presence to voice their opposition.
Zion Landfill has projected capacity until 2028 and collects an average of 1,500 tons of MSW and C&D waste each day, according to the company. It was last expanded in 2011 and is permitted to accept waste from all Illinois companies, surrounding states and Advanced subsidiaries.
The vote taken by the city council does not pave a road directly to expanding the landfill, but city officials have acknowledged — and Advanced has brought up — doing so. During the May 21 meeting, council members discussed how, despite opposition, annexing the land that will be targeted for landfill expansion is the best way to keep "control" over how the landfill is expanded.
Their reasoning was that if Zion did not annex the territory, Advanced could instead go through the Lake County government or other authorities to pursue an expansion. Since the existing landfill is already in incorporated Zion territory, council members wanted to be able to keep as much control as possible when, in the future, the city and the company work toward a siting agreement. The company said a siting application has not been completed, and has not as of yet provided a timeline for when one might be.
The Zion Landfill is the largest by disposal volume in the Chicago metro area, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's latest annual report, and is a key regional asset for the company. This potential expansion could be a boon to Waste Management if a planned merger between the two companies goes through, or it could become a factor in the site eventually ending up under new ownership. The Chicago market is seen as one of the areas where divestments may most likely be required by the U.S. Department of Justice in order to secure merger approval.