Waco landfill opponents say potential landfill could threaten drinking water

Posted at 11:23 AM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 20:34:17-04

A group opposed to building a new potential landfill site in Waco says drinking water could be threatened with the new site.

The Citizens Against the Highway 84 Landfill said the potential new property overlaps with a "newly-uncovered" easement purchased in 1961 by the U.S. Government. The easement was to protect the Waco Reservoir drinking water supply. 

“You cannot build on, nor excavate any land in the 503 easement because it is too close to the watershed,” Brad Holland, chair of the group, said in a press release. “Placing a solid waste landfill in the 503 easement violates TCEQ standards and would absolutely threaten our drinking water during any flood.”

Holland also said the city has never mentioned the easement before to the public.

Waco City Manager Dale Fisseler said the drinking water would not be affected by the new site.

He also said the city is aware of the easement and 100-year floodplain. The city would work around the floodplain areas, Fisseler said.

“It’s been there for a long time. Certainly not a surprise to us. We’ve been working through that and we don’t intend to build in that floodplain,” Fisseler said. “That’s just something that we work with our folks at the corps of engineers and FEMA to address and we’ve done that on the previous landfill.”

According to the city, the current landfill has about 7 years of life remaining, as of June 2017.

Fisseler said the city has to find a new landfill site so they can start work on building it.

“You have to hire experts, you have to work with a lot of regulatory agencies including the EPA, TCEQ, FAA, FEMA. All these agencies and we have all these experts that do that,” Fisseler.

The current 237-acre landfill is right off Highway 84 and next to where the potential new landfill site would be, off Old Lorena Road. Holland and the Citizens Against the Highway 84 Landfill said it should be built in another location not near their neighborhood.

“Let’s use one of our other regional landfills for the time until we can find a spot that really is in the middle of nowhere,” Holland said. “From both the standpoint of protecting one of the most beautiful assets we have in our city to just the safety of our drinking water, we should not put a landfill where the Army Corps of Engineers can flood the lake.”

The city will take a look at their options and decide sometime in September.  The city has not applied for any permits on any site.

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