An Alabama waste disposal authority plans to assume control of the CWI Cherokee Landfill, which had filed for bankruptcy and had been closed since the end of February due to issues with leachate removal.
A federal bankruptcy court ruled on Tuesday that the Tri-Cities Solid Waste Disposal Authority can proceed with an asset purchase agreement that would allow it to manage the landfill’s daily operations, as well as the operations at the nearby Shoals Transfer Station, according to a court filing. The landfill is in Cherokee, Alabama.
The disposal authority plans to use a $23 million bond issue to purchase CWI’s assets, and it will also be used to satisfy creditors, according to the court filing. The disposal authority will pay about $3.1 million of the purchase price for guaranteed claims. An additional $580,000 will go toward paying for equipment claims, including to companies such as Caterpillar and Komatsu. Any amount left over after paying these claims will go toward about $1.2 million in “administrative expenses” and other costs.
The authority is made up of the cities of Muscle Shoals, Sheffield and Tuscumbia. Before the asset purchase agreement can be finalized, the three cities must agree to back the bonds, local newspaper the Times Daily reported.
In February, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management ordered the landfill to close until it could reduce leachate levels in landfill cells and storage tanks, according to The Times Daily. The leachate levels are now considered to be at a point where ADEM is able to inspect the facility to determine if it is in compliance with its solid waste permit.
CWI filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy soon after. At that time, the waste authority also filed a separate suit in an effort to take over the landfill’s operations.
By signing the purchase agreement, the waste authority takes operational control and will be responsible for any future costs, according to the document. The authority must now work out plans for reopening and operating the facility, and make sure both the landfill and transfer station have enough employees to run effectively.