Board updated on landfill cleanup

Jason Williams of Atlantic Waste Disposal was not present at the Sussex County Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday because he had a family matter to attend to, and Waste Management gave the board an update on the landfill cleanup.

John Dottellis, the engineering manager at Waste Management, spoke on Atlantic Waste Disposal’s behalf. Dotellis gave projected completion dates for the capping projects, and introduced a fourth phase.

“The current capping project, which we originally reported as being 30 acres, as of today 11 acres have been installed, with all of the other work having been completed,” Dottellis said. “Right now our tentative completion date is mid-July for that first phase of 30 acres.”

Phase two of the capping project is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. The second phase comprises 36 acres and started Thursday.

Phase three of the capping project deviates from original statements made on behalf of Atlantic Waste. The design for the 34 acre site is complete, but the phase will not begin until early 2017.

Phase four is a recent addition to the capping project totaling around 25 acres. The design for phase four is underway and scheduled for completion in 2016.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) lifted the emergency consent order June 13 and assessed a $99,000 civil penalty. Atlantic Waste entered a voluntary consent order with the DEQ with a relaxed reporting and inspection schedule in comparison to the emergency order.

The board questioned Dottellis on temperatures on site and acreage being cleared. The board met in a closed session after the Thursday night meeting to discuss Atlantic Waste, and the proposed increase in tipping fees were not discussed in the public meeting.

Citizens voiced their discomfort resulting from the stench the slippage and lechate have brought to Sussex. Prince George residents are also suffering as a result of the odor looming over the region.

One citizen, Larry Diehl, addressed the board during the public comment period regarding the county’s lack of action in response to the landfill crisis. Diehl said time is running out for the county to act and he will be rolling out stage one to save the county.

“I would advise, based on what stage one is going to be, for each of you to get your own attorney,” Diehl said. “I have done that twice in my career. Once was with Mr. Tyler years ago. I didn’t plan to get him, but once I figured out what was going on, I said you better get a good lawyer. The other one was Mayor Gray, obviously she did because of the sever violations. Your inaction is malfeasance, and if you don’t think that is a serious problem, you don’t think you need a lawyer, call the guys that are under felony indictments in Flint, Michigan, and you’ll find out what I’m talking about.”

Diehl was vague in his description of what exactly his plan is, but all indicators point towards a legal battle. Citizens in Prince George and Sussex are fed up with the odor and raised their concerns during the public comment period and public hearing Thursday night.

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