Waste Connections pushing for Nebraska landfill expansion after previous rejection
- After a previous failed attempt, Waste Connections has resubmitted an application for a 160-acre expansion of Butler County Landfill — which is expected to reach capacity in 2024 — in David City, Nebraska, as reported by the Columbus Telegram.
- Public opinion was divided at a Jan. 30 public forum: while local business owners and workers in attendance maintained that the expansion is essential for their livelihoods, other county residents spoke out against the project's potential environmental and public health consequences, citing ongoing odor and trash collection issues.
- According to Landfill District Manager Kelly Danielson, the site spends $2.3 million annually, taxes included, in Butler County. The landfill's closure could reportedly force the county to turn to sites more than 50 miles away, potentially hiking prices for the average customer by as much as 30-40%.
The 145-acre landfill, which intakes 550,000 tons of waste per year from approximately 20 Nebraska counties, has been in operation since 1986. The proposed expansion would extend the site's lifespan by 30 years — but in order to be forwarded to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the project application must first gain approval from the Butler County Board of Supervisors.
This could prove tricky for landfill officials. A previous July 2015 expansion request was denied for failing to meet specified criteria, prompting a 2016 lawsuit from the company. The district court ruled in its favor — a decision appealed by the county — and the Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed the case in March 2018 on procedural grounds, effectively allowing the county board's original decision stand.
In order to approve Butler County Landfill's new application, the board must determine that all outlined criteria, which include necessity and impact on health and safety, have been adequately accounted for. The project, agreed supervisors in 2015, fulfilled only three of the six specified standards — forcing the landfill to wait years to reapply.
Landfill representatives stressed the expansion's ability to meet all established criteria at last Wednesday's public forum.
The public record will remain open to comments on the proposed expansion for 30 days following the forum, and the board will vote on whether the application meets defined standards by April 26.
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