HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Plans to expand a landfill in eastern Henrico are moving forward, despite heated opposition from local leaders and members of the community.
The East End Landfill claims that the reason it's had run-ins with the Department of Environmental Quality, is because it's ahead of the curve, implementing new waste management techniques that will ultimately be better for the region.
According to Matthew Appelget, the president of East End Landfill, what you see is the future of waste management in America.
"We're here to do it in an environmentally responsible way," said Appelget.
TEEL as it is known has been plagued by complaints from the community about truck traffic, smell and noise. They also have been on the wrong side of a series of violations issued by DEQ. But Appelget believes the steps they are taking now will be better for everyone in the long run.
"A lot of the things that we are doing are cutting edge. We have different equipment and different waste management practices that are the norm in the industry," he said.
One of the ways TEEL is trying to be different is the use of a machine, which is actually mining old debris from an old landfill and turning it into a usable recycled product.
This practice and others has cut the amount of debris TEEL puts into the ground to just about 40 percent of what they take in. A commitment that they believe fills an important need in the community.
"We're responsible for 80 percent of the construction and demolition debris that is recycled in the CVWA region," said Appelget.
But that doesn't get rid of the trucks that lumber down Darbytown Road, or many of the issues that members of the community are concerned with. TEEL has plans to open a new entrance to their facility, and they have built this wall that will also have new trees planted around it, to hide much of their work from the nearby neighborhoods. They also hope to keep an open dialogue with their neighbors.
"And we'll continue to do more as we communicate with the community and develop a plan with the community to deal with these issues," Appelget said.
TEEL has already been approved to quadruple the amount of trash that it takes in. They said today, that they plan to expand more in the future.