Chesterfield County residents oppose landfill expansion

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) – The controversy continued over the planned expansion of a Chesterfield County landfill following a public hearing on July 28. At the center of the hearing was the plan to convert a quarry into additional landfill space.

Shoosmith Brothers, Incorporated runs the landfill, which consists of more than 40 million cubic yards of volume. For 15 years, the company has sought permits to expand into the nearby rock quarry. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has already given a green light for the quarry’s conversion. The agency is now going over technical details on how to effectively and safely turn the quarry into a landfill.

Shoosmith Vice President Fletcher Kelley describes the geography of the quarry as a tiered “upside down wedding cake,” with each tier 40 feet in elevation. It’s design would include a vertical liner support system made from concrete, vinyl sheet piles and soil. Fletcher says no more than one 40-foot tier would be lined at time. The converted quarry would collect groundwater that builds up beneath the lining to separate groundwater from surface water.

In Tuesday’s public hearing, the Department of Environmental Quality heard comments from Kelley, county officials and the public.

“It’s time for the DEQ and the board of supervisors to make a decision in favor of the residents of Chesterfield County,” said Thomas Watson, who lives within a two-mile range from the existing landfill.

Some residents worry about odor control, ground pollution and toxins getting into their water.

“A lot of us have wells that are very deep to get to the water source we need. The landfill is already below the ground water, said Kipra Neirmann

Others plead for intervention from the county.

“I think the only way to stop this dump is through the Board of Supervisors,” said one commenter.

County officials are calling for changes to the DEQ’s draft permit, including truck restrictions, limited hours of operation and a ban on animal carcasses in the landfill. The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors will take action at their meeting in September.

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