Landfill equals pay dirt?

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The discovery that the Perry County landfill known as Arrowhead wants to expand its area and its range of taking in waste has raised concerns in the region.

But the landfill’s ability to expand rests in the hands of ADEM, and that means if enough people request, a public hearing may be held to determine who is for or who is against the proposal.

The acceptance of the ash from last December’s accident at Kingston, Tenn. is not so simple. If the TVA analysis of the landfill’s ability to handle the ash is confirmed by EPA Region 4 officials, the ash likely will come to reside right on Dallas County’s back door.

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Perry County Commissioner Albert Turner Jr. tells us there’s nothing to worry about. The heavy metals in the ash are in low concentrations and cannot hurt animal or human life, he says. Additionally, the landfill is up to standards to handle the ash without worries of the metals leaching into groundwater supplies.

While Turner may be telling the truth, there is also ample truth to the amount of money that could come into Perry County if the landfill expanded and accepted waste from states around the nation. Even if the county charged only $1 per ton, the increased ability of the landfill to 15,000 tons per day would mean $15,000 per day in the coffers of Perry County.

Our question: At whose expense?