Clinton Landfill Owners To Appeal Chem Waste Ban
The owner of the Clinton Landfill says it will appeal the latest modification to its state EPA permit, which bans it from accepting PCB and manufactured gas plant waste.
But for now, Peoria Disposal Company says it will stop accepting manufactured gas plant waste at the landfill, while it seeks a review of the modification before the Illinois Pollution Control Board. The review of Modification #47 is being sought on or before September 4th.
In a news release, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Coulter notes that the Clinton Landfill has never accepted PCB’s, because its request to do so is still awaiting federal approval. And he says the all manufactured gas plant wastes going into the landfill's Chemical Waste Unit come from Illinois, including from one site in downtown Clinton, about two miles away from the landfill.
The news releases states, "The public can be assured that the Clinton Landfill CWU (Chemical Waste Unit) poses no risk to human health, safety and welfare, as the facility is conservatively desgined and operated to far exceed USEPA and IEPA modern landfill standards".
Governor Pat Quinn ordered the change in the Clinton Landfill’s state permit, after local officials voiced fears that the chemical waste in the landfill could leak out and endanger the Mahomet Aquifer.
The DeWitt County Board is staying silent on a proposal to allow PCB's into the Clinton Landfill.
County Board members voted eight-to-four Thursday night against a proposal to formally present a consultant's report critical of the PCB proposal at a federal EPA hearing next month. The hearing on the Clinton Landfill's request for a chemical waste permit --- which would allow PCB's --- is scheduled for April 13th from 6 to 8 PM, at Clinton High School.
One reason cited for voting down a formal presentation is the cost of bringing consultant G. Fred Lee to Clinton to present an updated version of his report. But another one is a 2008 clause in DeWitt County's agreement with landfill owner Peoria Disposal, to remain neutral on their application for a chemical waste permit. County Board member Sherrie Brown made the motion for the consultant's report, and would also like to see the neutrality clause rescinded.
"But ultimately it would lead to litigation," Brown said. "So I believe that in discussing this openly with my fellow board members, that they believe it would lead to litigation, and they're not willing to look at that."
Brown said she thinks the neutrality clause is not legally binding, because it concerns county board policy matters, but DeWitt County State's Attorney Richard Kortiz disagrees.
"When we start talking policy, the way I would look at this, that is more of a nebulous situation," Koritz said. "Maybe more into specific employment issues, or benefits, or we're going to put this area zoned this way or this area zoned that way. Those are policies, as opposed to contractual obligations."
The neutrality clause is part of DeWitt County's agreement with Peoria Disposal that sets out host fees paid to county government for the Clinton Landfill's operation.Koritz said that before the clause was added, the Clinton Landfill's request for a chemical waste permit had the county board's implicit support. But public opposition to the permit has grown, as reflected in the vote on two non-binding resolutions in 2008. Opponents say PCB's would eventually leak out of the Clinton Landfill, threatening groundwater supplies from the Mahomet Aquifer.
Meanwhile, opponents of a chemical waste permit for the Clinton Landfill argue that staying neutral on the issue won't protect DeWitt County from litigation. George Wissmiller of the local group WATCH predicts that the county will face litigation, from whichever side doesn't get its way in the dispute.