Neighbors prepared to fight DEQ decision to expand East End Landfill

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – As we first reported last night, the Department of Environmental Quality is granting a permit to allow Henrico's East End Landfill to take in more waste, but tonight neighbors say they won't give up the fight to keep it from harming their neighborhood.

Neighbors were surprised by the decision. They thought they had enough support to keep the landfill from expanding. But the DEQ decided to go the other way.

Eric Leabough and several of his neighbors say the landfill's too loud and dirty as it is. With the DEQ now allowing it to quadruple the amount of demolition debris coming in - they fear the problem will only get worse.

"Noise, traffic. You can see here today all the mud, the truck traffic coming through as we speak on a daily basis," said Leabough.

The DEQ's decision would seem to end months of opposition from neighbors and elected leaders, whose arguments ultimately were not strong enough for a denial. However, the landfill will be carefully watched for clean streets, and clean air.

"They just have to keep an eye on things, and have watering systems available that can suppress the dust when it becomes an issue," said Rick Weeks, Chief Deputy of DEQ.

Despite efforts from the landfill's owner to make amends with the community, Leabough says he wants to appeal the decision.

"He doesn't live here. The guy at DEQ doesn't live here. They go home to wherever they live, but we have  to come home here," Leabough said.

An appeal can be made through the court system, within 30 days. Until then - the expansion would appear to be full steam ahead.

"We'll respond to complaints that we get from the public and stay on top of things until we're sure that it's operating smoothly," Weeks said.

The permit will take effect next week, at which point neighbors should expect to see those additional trucks arriving at the facility. 

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