- The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) is asking the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for permission to expand its landfill in Franklin County by 50.7 acres, as reported by The Columbus Dispatch.
- Currently, SWACO is only using about half of the available land for landfill operations and received approval for a previous expansion proposal in 1997 that never happened.
- Based on the current rate of accepting 4,000 tons of waste per day, the site is projected to reach capacity in 2038. This expansion could keep it open until roughly 2068.
The site has been open since 1984 and services the 41 local governments represented by SWACO. The authority has pledged to use the expansion wisely if it is approved by increasing recycling efforts. According to state records, the site accepted 1.06 million tons of waste in 2015 and the vast majority of that was classified as "general," as opposed to a small amount of "industrial" material.
Part of SWACO's re-evaluation, first announced more than a year ago, has included shifting away from public drop-off bins in some locations because the successful expansion of residential recycling has reduced the need for them. Because a sizable portion of the material going to SWACO's landfill is commercial, the authority also plans to focus on improving business recycling. The Ohio EPA's newly announced online materials marketplace may also help divert more from this sector.
Though discussions are still in the early stage, and more will be known after an upcoming public meeting, the expansion proposal hasn't faced any significant opposition yet. If approved, this could be taken as a sign that landfill expansions are still possible when siting is planned fairly and the costs of inaction are taken into account. For municipalities in some of the states that currently export their waste to Ohio, New York chief among them, costs are set to continue rising in coming years.