Landfill changes worry Chesterfield neighbors

Posted at 11:00 PM, Feb 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-12 11:47:46-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va (WTVR)- More than 100 western Chesterfield residents from a half-dozen different communities filed into Cosby High Monday night.

They were there to listen to the proposal of a site development team and then offer their questions about traffic, the materials that would be dumped in an expanded landfill and what would happen if safeguards fail.

“We want to learn more about this,” said Chesterfield resident Charlie Davis. “ I don't know if anyone knows exactly what “fly-ash” and “fluff is.”  It sounds like a Walt Disney movie, but I guarantee it isn’t funny."

The residents were fired up over a landfill that wants to switch from commercial construction dumping to industrial dumping and will use about 55 acres to store what some say is toxic trouble.

“Fly-ash is from power plants,” said Bill Woodfin, a former engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency.  “It’s the burned coal material they don't want getting into the atmosphere.  So they capture it as a solid material.  Fluff is the stuff they can't recycle from the insides of cars."

There are a total of 115 acres on the eastbound side of Route  360 available for the project, if county leaders approve the zoning.  Some residents feel even with a buffer it would beget a plethora of problems.

“Another 300 or 600 trucks, that's a lot of extra lug nuts and, as my friends in the fire department say, in an accident the ones with most lug nuts win," said Davis.

“If they make themselves sound green, then they'll open up this area to growth it can't handle,” said Chesterfield resident Kipra Niermann.  “It's going to have this stuff coming in from every direction."

People living in Woodlake, Magnolia Green, Brandermill, and Hampton Park also have concerns about a plastic lining safeguard that will be used to hold the fly ash and fluff material and keep it from leaking.  Those neighbors are worried if it fails, it could end up in the county water supply.

But the site owners lawyer insist it’s not a problem.  “These sites are incredibly safe landfills and heavily regulated,” said  William Shewmake from LeClair/Ryan Developers.  “It'll cost five to ten million dollars to build and be taken care of, well after it's full."

Shewmake says he welcomes the questions about the landfill proposal and will hold other informative meetings if the community wants them. The matter is expected to go before the zoning commission on April 16th.