- A proposed 30-acre expansion of Chrin Landfill in Williams Township, PA, approved by the town's board in January, would mean that Allentown, PA would continue to accumulate additional tipping fee revenues if it passes. But residents say the landfill, which opened in the 1960s, is not designed to accommodate the community today, particularly due to the further residential development in Williams Township and complaints of odors.
- The Department of Environmental Protection will release a letter in April assessing the site, which its environmental manager said has met engineering and environmental criteria since it opened, according to WFMZ-TV.
- Meanwhile not far away in the Scranton area, the owners of Keystone Sanitary Landfill are pursuing a 50-year permit, requesting to expand the 335-acre dump to 435 acres. This plan drew in 400 people to a recent public discussion, according to the Scranton Times-Tribune.
Not too many new landfills are being built in this country, but plenty are on a trajectory for expansion, with environmental agencies fielding new permits at a seemingly rapid rate in some areas. In Pennsylvania alone there were recently a few expansion proposals including one in Conestoga, and another in Lower Saucon.
The reality is that communities and their waste volumes keep growing, and while some are championing diversion programs, others struggle to recycle. The trash needs to go somewhere, but not in their back yard, say many residents once a project is slated for their town. This has been the case for expansions like the one proposed at Keystone, which even took Center for Health, Environment & Justice Founder Lois Gibbs by surprise, though he's seen this trend in landfill development.
"This is the largest landfill I have seen in my 37 years. I cannot imagine what it’s going to look like with a 50-year permit. ... I’ve never seen a 50-year permit," he said, as reported in Times-Tribune.
Chrin Landfill residents feel they have reason to chime in too. The site already carries a history of controversy, and now the dump — which accepts about 1,500 tons of municipal solid waste a day — would stretch out to run in three directions from the current location.
Landfill operators at both Chrin and Keystone say if they cannot grow, they will run out of space by 2019.