Hold Waste Management Eco Vista Landfill Accountable Before Expansion

Hold Waste Management Eco Vista Landfill Accountable Before Expansion

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Tontitown Area Citizens Advocating for a Safer Environment started this petition to Tontitown Residents, Washington County, Benton County, Carrol County, Madison County

To Tontitown Planning Commissioners, Zoning Board, and City Council: 

CC: ADEQ, Boston Mountain Solid Waste District and State Representatives

 

This letter is written on behalf of Tontitown Citizens and the surrounding Washington County neighbors who are both directly and indirectly affected by the Waste Management Eco Vista Landfill. The matter of large-scale development is currently before the boards for approval, and we ask that you consider voting "no" to further expansion at the Tontitown location or at the very least you withhold a “yes” vote until all the following conditions and proposed resolutions are completed by Waste Management within a time frame of one (1) calendar year.    

 

For decades we have been told by Waste Management that various concerns would be improved, added, or changed, and we have seen almost zero carry through on these promises. In addition, all commercial properties, and businesses in Tontitown are required to meet certain codes which are not being met by the Eco Vista Landfill, and we ask the city to uphold and enforce these codes. The landfill is a commercial operation, and we ask that they must meet or exceed existing commercial codes. 

 

We ask that you withhold a vote on expansion until the following conditions are met: 

 

1) A perimeter fence surrounding the property that meets the definition as defined by city code

A) Currently there is no existing fence in some areas of the perimeter 

 

2) A buffer area with a barrier (ie trees and shrubs) should exist as defined by city code

A) Currently no barrier exists in a majority of the perimeter 

B) If the large scale development is passed as is, trees would not be planted until 2023 and 2024 prolonging the time it would take for them to provide a sufficient barrier (5-7 years growth time)

C) Waste Management Eco Vista Landfill has promised trees to line areas of the property in the past and failed to follow through 

D) We propose that all tree and shrub planting be completed by September 2021

 

3) All buffer areas are to be kept groomed, as defined by city code 

A) Currently areas of the perimeter and other areas of the property have weeds and grass growth waist high

B) Weeds allowed to mature and go to seed are a nuisance to property owners and can be hazardous to people and livestock

C) We ask that these buffer areas be kept mowed and/or sprayed to kill weeds

 

4) There are several areas of standing water not contained in basins or other collection methods on their property, many of which are near residential properties and should be dealt with as all water should be controlled as required by Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or appropriate measures determined by the city

A) Standing water is a known breeding ground for mosquitos and could encourage snakes and other species to these areas

B) We ask that the residents within a one mile radius of the landfill be provided a non-toxic, bee, pet, and child safe mosquito and snake repellent such as Wondercide to control the existing issue

C) Young children live near the perimeter and no barrier currently exists in several areas creating a potential drowning hazard 

 

5) Noise should be confined to current commercial ordinance

A) Currently operations begin around 5 AM and citizens have reported beeping, banging, and slamming at these hours 

 

6) The odor should be identified as a public nuisance and be controlled at all hours of every day and night, not just during hours of operation as required by city and DEQ codes

A) Residents and business owners from miles away have reported being able to smell the landfill

B) Residents report smell at all hours including during evenings and weekends

C) Nearby neighbors have reported not being able to enjoy their homes and properties due to the odor

D) Residents have reported physical illness including but not limited to headache, nausea, and vomiting 

 

7) The roads should be addressed to remove red dirt, dust, mud, and debris. A wheel washout should be implemented

A) Currently Arbor Acres, Dowell, and Klenc stay red with dirt and dust in dry times and mud in wet times

B) There is not currently a wheel washout in use; wheel washout is currently required by the city for construction sites 

C) Neighboring residents and citizens who travel commercial landfill traffic routes report large rocks and debris in the road as well as issues such as frequent flat tires due to nails and other debris

D) Residents along landfill traffic routes and directly across from the landfill have red mailboxes, fences, and even homes from years of dust and mud which we ask to be addressed and rectified by a voucher for pressure washing twice a yearly

E) Current street sweeping methods cause ditches to become filled with dirt and clay tracked out by trucks and water carries possible contamination to nearby waterways and aquifers

1) Our area is over the Boone Limestone Formation which is an aquifer that has a layer of porous limestone 

                        2) Some residents use well water for home and farm use 

 

8) Digging requirements should meet or exceed DEQ buffer codes of 100 feet from property line, 300 feet from residences, and 500 feet from water wells. We ask for a minimum of 250 feet from the property line as originally stated in the rezoning code

A) Markers identifying the buffer zone should be in place so that it is identified

B) Permits for digging should be obtained as required by city code

C) Digging and other activities directly related to Landfill activity should not be permitted in areas identified in existing covenants

D) Any areas previously dug in this buffer zone should be filled to prevent standing water

E) During the rezoning meetings the mayor stressed that they would not be able to work within 250 FT of the perimeter, however further review of the code identifies a loophole that was included allowing digging to the property line

                         1) Previous zoning limited digging to 50ft from property line

2) State law REG 22.408(a) identifies landfill buffer zones of 100 feet to property line, 300 feet to dwellings, 500 feet to water wells 

 

9) Storm water runoff has been identified as leaving the property in multiple areas, violating state regulations, and should be rectified

A) We ask for independent third party testing of water and soil to be conducted in these areas, as well as for all wells, creeks, ponds, and natural bodies of water within a 1 mile radius at no less than 3 test facilities to ensure consistent, nonpartisan results at the expense of the landfill. 

 

10) The closed class 1 landfill on premises at Eco Vista does not have the required liner under it and is an environmental hazard. The expansion proposed uses the side of the closed class 1 landfill as a portion of the base of the expansion area. A plan of action should be revealed as to how this unlined area will be addressed, rectified, and lined to be safely implemented in the expansion

A) July 2019 Correspondence between DEQ and Eco Vista revealed trash dated from 1984 present in the test dig site required for expansion. DEQ requested a plan of action to rectify this, and the response of Eco Vista did not outline a plan

B) We request that the unlined area be removed and lined, to prevent damage to the environment and health of the citizens

C) Additional studies concerning the added pressure and weight of new trash tonnage to existing lined and unlined areas should be reviewed 

 

11) Additional wells and gas conversion station to be implemented.

A) We request that enough facilities be on site as to handle all the methane gas produced by the landfill and turned into usable energy so that only a minimal amount is burned off.

B) Current facilities cannot handle the amount of gas produced and the excess of gas is continually burning 

C) We request that this usable energy be provided to the city and surrounding citizens first for all we have endured over the years 

 

12) Road maintenance and repairs should be contributed to and addressed

A) The landfill is the largest contributor of large trucks and heavy loads on Klenc, Dowell, and Arbor Acres Avenue.

B) A large divot/pothole has been worn from traffic turning left from Arbor Acres to Dowell as well as other areas

C) Street widening or traffic lights may be needed in areas

 

 

13) Line and/or sort class 4 landfill contents

A) Class 4 landfills are for construction debris and not for household trash. We have reason to believe that household trash such as bottles, bags, wrappers, and other items are being disposed of in the class 4 landfill. Trash is not currently checked or sorted before dumping. A liner is not required for class 4 landfills, but we ask for the expanded area to have one to prevent environmental hazards. At a minimum, incoming class 4 loads should be checked for trash or sorted at the time of dumping

 

14) Trash blowing off premises and out of trucks should be addressed

A) Nearby residents and those living along landfill traffic routes experience trash that has blown off premises or out of trucks heading toward the landfill and continues to be an issue and potential hazard to livestock, pets, and is a general and unsightly nuisance

B) Reg22.411(g) prohibits trash from leaving the premises 

 

15) Implementation of recycling programs for our community that would help reduce class 1 trash and works with other, preferably local companies to reuse recycled materials 

 

16) A building or designated storage area to house broken or not in use bins and dumpsters and make repairs as needed that meets or exceeds city code guidelines

A) Currently the dumpsters are scattered around the property in an unorganized manner 

 

17) We ask that as a condition to approval to expansion that the city sets a justifiable expiration on this landfill. The original Tontitown landfill began in 1979, which is 42 years. The expansion will give another 12 years approximately. Trash comes from surrounding states in addition to Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties and our citizens and neighbors have been and are currently enduring the consequences of hundreds of thousands of people’s trash

A) At the June Planning Board Meeting Mayor Colvin stated that costs would climb to $100 a bag if the landfill was relocated. If this were the case, we would not be receiving trash from surrounding states

B) People in our area have been contacting state and local representatives reporting illness and many have voiced concerns that the landfill could be a cause of illness

C) Our area is rapidly growing with a new elementary school in progress and several new apartments, subdivisions, homes, and businesses moving in. We want the cleanest and safest possible environment for our existing and new neighbors

 

We ask that all the above be completed before a yes vote on expansion. We ask that you vote yes to the improvements, with some changes to expected timelines but a no vote on expansion until all conditions are met or in progress. It seems reasonable to revisit the matter of expansion in one calendar year as the expected life of the current landfill is around 3 years. For decades, we have waited on improvements with no results and hope you will stand with us and have the landfill prove that they will implement these changes that will benefit all our citizens and neighbors. 

 

We ask that the revenue from Waste Management to the City of Tontitown be reviewed and disclosed. We also ask that you please look over regulation 22, specifically the parts attached. 

 

We expect the city and state agencies to enforce the codes set upon the landfill. If the Waste Management Eco Vista Landfill does not come into compliance with city, state, and federal regulations a class action lawsuit will be filed. 

 

 

Signed with hope for a safer environment, the following citizens:                                        

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