HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – The controversial plan to expand an East End landfill is a go!
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) approved the plan today.
"TEEL" can now quadruple the amount of trash it receives, even though there was public opposition. Despite DEQ's willingness to allow the East End Landfill expansion, the organization has experienced a rocky history with the local landfill. The dump's path to the approval of its application has been filled with numerous violations that are still in the process of being rectified.
In the months prior to the east end landfill's decision to expand its operation, the department of environmental quality issued this 35 page order filled with violations.
"The number of violations is, unusual," said DEQ regional Director Rick Weeks. "We typically don't have that number of violations."
In fact, the landfill failed 6 straight inspections, but was never stopped from taking in trash. The violations came because they were not complying with important safety standards. Standards that according to Weeks, "Are in there to prevent problems from occurring."
*The height and degree of the landfill slope or trash hill, created a potentially dangerous runoff problem and a situation where if not rectified over time, the hill could fall.
Weeks said that "they went higher and steeper in order to continue to take in trash."
*TEEL took in tires and contaminated soil without proper permits. In fact a tire fire occurred on the landfill property back in October of 2008.
*They also did not provide DEQ with a financial bond in the event that a problem occurred and the agency was forced to come in and clean up.
Weeks claims TEEL has worked to rectify these and other issues. "The management is trying to address our concerns," he said.
However some of these issues like the increasingly steep slope, cannot be fixed, until the expansion goes through.
"We let them have until they could start putting trash in this cell before they starting bringing those slopes down." Weeks said. However he went on to say that with approval now a reality, violations like this in the future will not be acceptable. "Certainly we will be paying very close attention to them to make sure they get everything back into compliance."
To see the complete list of violations from DEQ click here.
Next Tuesday, we will hear from TEEL as we go inside their operation to see how they are addressing the DEQ order's concerns.