New Castle, DE – This week New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and leaders from the county’s Public Safety Department petitioned state regulators to deny Waste Management’s request to raise the height limit of its landfill in a suburban New Castle County neighborhood. A letter sent this week to DNREC follows an initial call in May by New Castle County Councilman Jea Street, State Representative Frank Cooke and County Executive Meyer for the permit to be denied and for residents to participate in a DNREC public hearing on the application. Click HERE to read that May 28 news release.
The Waste Management DRPI Industrial Waste Landfill operates under an environmental permit that authorizes it to dump construction debris and other material up to a height of 130 feet. The company has asked state regulators to alter that permit and allow it to increase that height to 190 feet – a nearly 50% increase.
In this week’s letter, which is attached, county officials cite the impact of the landfill on 741 public safety personnel who work at the county’s Public Safety Headquarter which sits immediately adjacent to the landfill on Route 13 in Minquadale. Staff are regularly impacted by foul odors from the landfill, along with dust and debris that are blown onto the facility from the trash deposited on-site. It also expresses concern for the residential neighborhoods that sit in the shadow of the mound of trash and debris and for pedestrians and cyclists who use the popular Markell Trail which runs along the western edge of the landfill property. “In an area of the county where we are actively working toward community revitalization through investments like the Markell Trail and the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, we believe that a landfill expansion works against that effort,” the letter reads. “It would be counterproductive to expose local residents to expanded landfill operations as we work to sustain progress in promoting healthier lifestyles and activities.”
During DNREC’s May 29 public hearing on the permit application, county officials also became aware of Artesian Water Company concerns about the landfill, which sits directly above an aquifer used for public drinking water for residents across New Castle County. “It is imperative that an analysis be completed to understand the potential for toxic contamination to leach from the landfill into the aquifer before any permit decision is reached,” the county officials wrote.
Additionally, County Councilman Jea Street has introduced county legislation, which is supported by the Meyer Administration, that would bar any landfill capped at 140 feet or less in height from seeking increases above that limit. Ordinance 19-046 would also create regulations in County law that require the impact on community health, safety, traffic and the environment be considered when landfill permits are filed.
Artesian has submitted its own letter of objection to state regulators citing a number of concerns, including contamination from the landfill into the underlying aquifer and the effect of six additional stories of waste compressing the oldest debris cells on-site which are in direct contact with the aquifer. Read Artesian’s full letter at https://drive.google.com/open?id=14CD_BOSeBpbFmjmQjGoRxHnkwyvETqe6.
These objections come as state legislators also debate a bill that would impose a statewide height limit of 130 feet on landfills of this type. House Bill 212, introduced by Representative Frank Cooke, passed in the House by a wide margin on June 25 and awaits action in the Senate, where its fate is uncertain. The 2019 state legislative session ends this Sunday.
Read Waste Management’s application to increase the height of its DRPI landfill at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/dwhs/SHWMB/Pages/SolidWasteFacilities.aspx.
Contact: Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462