The Butler County Commissioner's meeting once again involved a work session on the Butler County landfill on Tuesday morning.
Darryl Lutz, director of Public Works, started the discussion by giving a quick recap on the discussion that occurred last week.
The specific concerns addressed during the discussion of the modification of the permit sent to KDHE in late April were: the proposed filling in of the six-acre gap between the old and the new landfill, the increase in height and the modification of the final cover design to eliminate the plastic cap.
He went on to explain increasing the available volume of the landfill will potentially increase the number of years the landfill could be in operation. The purpose of the increase of the six acres is to allow the greater expansion vertically, which would then reduce the unit cost per acre for landfill development. The major costs of the landfill are in the liner and the cap. If more waste is placed between those two items, the cost of operating the landfill will dramatically decrease.
When the permit is sent to KDHE, the process of reviewing all the specific concerns beings. Everything is looked at specifically including structural concerns, runoff and loadings on the soils and liners.
"Those are all issues that are completely separate from zoning," said Lutz. "The zoning primarily is the inclusion for the proposed modifications for the soil on the properties. What we're doing today is going over and answering as many questions as we can."
Vickie Schwemmer, a neighbor to the landfill, voiced her concern over the validity of the application.
She went on to explain she had received an responding e-mail from Dennis Denger from the Solid Waste Permits Section of the KDHE after the last meeting. It states, "Please understand that decisions concerning zoning and consistency with the County's Solid Waste Management Plan were required by Butler County before this application could be submitted to our office."
"The new application has no change in the zoning," explained Will Johnson, county administrator. "The only change in zoning is with the adjacent land that will be used for fill dirt, which does not impact the permit for the current landfill."
"The zoning is in place," added Lutz. "It has been in place and that was done a number years ago. It was included in the first modification in the 1990s and we operate the landifll in conformance with the solid waste management plan."
In conformance with that solid waste plan, the permit to the KDHE is required to explain where fill and covert dirt will be acquired.
"This permit will not be approved unless you can show where you will get more dirt," said Commissioner Peggy Palmer.
Page 2 of 2 - "In order to utilize the soil adjacent to the landfill, we’ll need to change the zoning," answered Lutz.
"If we stay with the existing permit, we will be out of dirt in five to seven years," commented Commissioner Dan Woydziak. "We don’t have anywhere near the amount of soil that we would need to cover the landfill."
"It doesn’t make sense to me to buy dirt when we already own dirt," added Commissioner Jeff Masterson.
Commissioner Ed Myers then began to question about the possibility of capping the landfill early in order to maintain a portion of the borrowed area.
"At that point in time, the land the county owns might even be attractive for real estate development," said Myers. "Perhaps we shouldn't limit the possibility of retargeting that area back into some sort of private sector in an appropriate way."
"That’s not an unrealizstic thought," commented Lutz. "If there's new technologies that come about that doesn’t involve putting waste into the ground, it could be a possibility."
"It needs to be addressed and reviewd every few years, but that’s what we do every five years with our solid waste plan," added Woydziak.
The area where the borrow dirt was going to come from was then brought into the discussion.
"It makes sense to me, five to seven years from now, to borrow soil from that area," said Masterson. "There are a lot of reasons to begin in that area."
“Then you should just buy me out," answered Schwemmer.
"I think that is probably your optimum goal is for us to buy you out," said Masterson. "You’ve mentioned it several times and I’ve thought that from the beginning."
"I’m not opposing this because I’m against Butler County," added Schwemmer. "I’m 69 years old, and I planned on living there forever because we were given a promise that borrowed dirt would not come from there. I don’t think I need to take the financial responsibility for the whole of Butler County on my back."
"I think I would be more concerned about that main line of the railroad than I would be for that pile of dirt," said Masterson.
The commission then scheduled another work session on the landfill for the next week to iron out some of the more finite details.