- Waste Management's Liberty Landfill in White County, Indiana cleared another rezoning hurdle as it seeks to expand by an estimated 114 acres. The county commission approved the proposal on Sept. 11, but added nine stipulations to its host agreement to help address community complaints, as reported by the Herald Journal.
- The current landfill footprint covers 169 acres and has nine years before it reaches capacity, according to public affairs manager Lisa Disbrow. The expansion could add an additional 18 years of disposal capacity. Waste Management owns 565 acres at the site, including a buffer zone.
- The company needs to earn the approval of the White County Board of Zoning Appeals for a special use exception. From there, the expansion will need a green light from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As recognized by Waste Management and other large landfill operators, expansion approvals have gotten more complex in recent years and that sometimes includes more complex host community agreements.
White County's Area Plan Commission previously approved the landfill's rezoning request in March with a 7-1 vote, according to meeting minutes. The hearing, however, drew a "very large crowd" of residents who expressed concerns. Conditions listed in the county's amended host agreement include traffic control, litter control, tarp inspections, well testing, road maintenance, a recycling trailer, environmental education and a "property value guarantee."
The property provision will require Waste Management to reimburse homeowners for fair market value if they can't find a buyer during the first 10 years after the landfill receives its expansion permit. In return, homeowners must cooperate with the landfill's expansion plans and related improvements.
The well testing condition applies to homeowners near the landfill as well.
The company will test wells annually, and if the tests reveal contamination caused by the facility, Waste Management will cover the cost of providing safe water. Waste Management will also work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reroute the adjacent Opal Carmichael Ditch to prevent pollution to the Tippecanoe River.
Request for comment from the White County commissioners was not returned.
The landfill funnels $5 million in tipping fees to the county each year, and $1 million per year to Liberty and Cass townships.
The Board of Zoning Appeals will likely weigh in on the special use exception later this year, Disbrow said. The board's executive director, Joe Rogers, told Waste Dive he has yet to receive Waste Management's application.
Liberty Landfill opened in the early 1980s and accepts MSW and industrial waste. The facility also operates gas-to-energy plants that provide energy in partnership with Wabash Valley Power and the local rural electric cooperative. According to 2014 IDEM data, Liberty ranks among the state's top 10 landfills in terms of remaining potential disposal capacity.