Friday, November 27, 2015

Citizens Efforts successful: Big Run Landfill Downsized and Regulated

Editorial: Landfill issue resolved with 36-point plan
 for Big Run Landfill, Boyd Co. Ky
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2015 2:00 pm

 Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition - CBCEC

As we understand it, the 36-point agreement regarding operations at Big Run Landfill in Boyd County reached with the Boyd County Fiscal Court, EnviroSolutions Holdings Inc., the corporate owners of Big Run, the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, and the Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition means Boyd County will cease being the happy burial ground for garbage from throughout the northeastern United States. Instead, it will become a much smaller operation mostly handling solid waste from this region.

The agreement, unveiled at Tuesday morning’s fiscal court meeting, is a wonderful early Christmas present for area residents who have been forced to endure years of the foul odors of rotting garbage emitting from the landfill that virtually made it impossible for residents to sell their homes and unpleasant for them to live in those homes.

The landfill also created a terrible image for this area as travelers on Interstate 64 and U.S. 60 were greeted with the smell of garbage as they traveled though the county. The message was clear: Who would want to live in an area where such foul odors were allowed to persist?

The agreement reached between EnviroSolutions, the fiscal court, the organization representing the most vocal critics of Big Run Landfill and the state regulatory agency does not call for the closing of the landfill; it simply means Big Run will be transformed from a mega-dump — the largest landfill in Kentucky, into a much smaller operation similar to what the closed Cooksey Brothers Landfill near Big Run was for the many years it handed the bulk of Boyd County’s solid waste.

Big Run Landfill is the largest landfill in Kentucky and one of the biggest east of the Mississippi River, accepting nearly 2 million tons of trash per year.
The new agreement imposes certain restrictions on the landfill’s volume of intake, materials accepted into the landfill, how trash is transported into the county and where it comes from.
Certain powers also have been given to the fiscal court and citizens’ group pertaining to information sharing about ownership, construction plans and monitoring the site.

Under the terms of this agreement, signed by Boyd County Chief Circuit Judge David Hagerman, the landfill will place final cap on current operations and open a new cell for depositing waste in an attempt to mitigate severe odor problems that caused tension between the company and Boyd residents. That means while the landfill itself will continue operating, the site where it now is burying waste will be closed, capped and replaced by a new, smaller area of Big Run.

The owners of Big Run recognized months ago that landfill had lost the public relations war and had lost the support of area residents, who just wanted to see the landfill close. Thus, the company realized it had to work with area residents and their political leaders if they hoped to protect the millions of dollars the company had invested in the landfill. That’s what EnviroSolutions did and, fortunately, members of the fiscal court and Citizens of Boyd County Environmental Coalition were reasonable and flexible enough to reach a fair compromise.

One has to travel no farther than Green Valley Landfill in neighboring Greenup County to realize a large, well-managed landfill can exist in this region without creating all the problems Big Run has. There is a need for both Green Valley and Big Run to serve the solid waste needs of northeastern Kentucky, southern Ohio and western West Virginia.

What this region does not need is a landfill to accept garbage from New York, New Jersey, most of New England and elsewhere. That’s the kind of landfill that is going out of business in Boyd County and good riddance it will be.