Your Presence is Critical
PDC-hosted Public Presentation on the Landfill Expansion
Thursday, April 7, 6:00 PM
Grand Hotel (former Holiday Inn)
4400 North Brandywine Drive
Peoria, IL 61614


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Background
The City and County jointly own the landfill for our residential, commercial and industrial waste. Currently, trash goes into cell #2 which was built and is currently operated by Waste Management. When this cell is full, a new cell will be needed. In 2009, the Peoria City/County Landfill Committee (made up of city council members, county board members and appointees) opened bidding for the design and operation of this new landfill cell. After a lengthy public process, Peoria Disposal Company’s bid was selected. In 2010, PDC completed its engineering investigation of the site and negotiated a host community agreement with the County. Currently, PDC is finalizing its design and preparing a siting application for the new landfill cell.

Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste and the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club group have followed this process closely. We have worked with the Landfill Committee and Peoria County to ensure that citizens have a voice in the decisions that are made. We have consistently advocated for a landfill that protects public health and safety. We have stressed the importance of prioritizing waste reduction, reuse and recycling over landfilling waste. We believe Peoria County shares these goals as its own solid waste management plan emphasizes reuse and recycling.

We are concerned that the proposal moving forward creates far more landfill than Peoria area citizens want or need. The original bid specification required proposed landfill designs to provide 10 million tons of landfill capacity over a 25 year time frame. Today, the landfill committee is instead considering an 18 million ton expansion that will allow for trash generation to increase astronomically. PDC’s analysis shows generated trash increasing from 372,000 tons today to over 600,000 tons annually by 2059! This mega-dump will saddle future generations with old technology and heaps of trash from a five-county service area. We see no justification for perpetuating the outdated concept of landfilling so far into the future.

PDC is hosting a public meeting to outline its plans on Thursday, April 7. Please attend to send a strong message that Peoria neither wants nor needs to be the site of new mega-dump.

 

Our Concerns
At this stage in the process, Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste and the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club chapter are focused on limiting the scope of the expansion to the originally proposed 10 million tons. We believe the 10 million tons of capacity required in the original bid specification is more than adequate to meet the Peoria area’s future trash needs.

In PDC’s original bid, it proposed a 10 million ton standalone landfill to be constructed in an open area at the existing landfill site. Over the course of the site investigation, a larger expansion that was originally presented as an alternative in PDC’s original proposal has gained traction. This alternative would construct not only a 10 million ton expansion, but an 8 million ton “piggyback” landfill on top of existing landfill cell 2. This 18 million tons of capacity would give the landfill an estimated life through the year 2070.

We oppose the piggyback because:

1. It’s not needed.
The proposal is based on trash volumes increasing 1% annually. The analysis did not factor in Peoria’s new curbside recycling program or commercial
and industrial efforts to cut costs and demonstrate sustainability through waste
reduction, reuse and recycling.

2. It’s risky.
The liners and underlying infrastructure in landfill cell number 2 are already 20 years old. They were not designed to hold an added 8 million tons of trash.

3. It represents a poor use of resources.
The landfill is plagued by aging infrastructure. The gas collection system has not worked for many years, putting the landfill in almost perpetual EPA violation. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has declared one of the landfill dams a “high hazard” in need of replacement. Instead of creating landfill capacity for the years 2050-2070, resources should be devoted to fixing existing problems.

4. Technology will continue to improve.
Future generations should not be saddled with our technology decisions.

 

A More Reasonable Approach
Peoria Families Against Toxic Waste and the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club group know that every community needs a place to put its trash. We understand the need to prepare for the day when the existing landfill runs out of space. We are not opposing the landfill expansion in general. Instead, we are advocating for more sustainable approaches to waste management.

Essentially, a landfill is a technology purchase. PDC is trying to sell us on the fact that today’s liners, landfill gas management and monitoring solutions will continue to protect our community into the future. Trash has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. Plastics and engineered materials present long-term challenges. This same detritus that litters our roadways also sits in landfills, decomposing slowly if at all. No one would purchase a computer today to meet their needs in 2050 because both their needs and the available technology will change. The same is true for landfills. Today’s technology may not be the best way to manage future trash. We believe the decisions of how to operate a landfill safely and sanely in the 2050-2070 time frame should be left to the future so future Peorians can take advantage of the best technology available at the time it is needed. Grandfathering in old technology helps no one.

We also believe that one of the key benefits of a publicly owned landfill is that it can be managed to balance the need for economical trash disposal with the larger social good of using resources more wisely by reducing waste, reusing and recycling. We believe that limiting the size of the new landfill is the only way to achieve this goal.

For more details on the landfill expansion, see the Peoria County information page.

 

Timeline of Preceding Events

July 2008: Landfill Committee opens Request for Proposals for designing and operating a new cell at the Peoria City/County Municipal Landfill

March 2009: PDC and Waste Management bid

August 2009: PDC bid selected by the Landfill Committee

December 2009: City of Peoria and Peoria County approve a contract with PDC for landfill
design and operation

January 2010: PDC begins its engineering investigation of the landfill site

August 2010: Peoria County enacts a new siting ordinance which will govern the siting process

January 2011: Peoria County approves a host community agreement with PDC regarding the landfill site

April 7, 2011: PDC hosts a public meeting to outline its landfill design. Please plan to attend!

April 20, 2011: Landfill Committee being asked by PDC to vote to move forward with the proposed design

May 2011: PDC expected to apply for siting with Peoria County

August-September 2011: Peoria County to hold public hearing to ensure the landfill meets Illinois Environmental Protection Act siting criteria based on need, public health and safety, impact on adjacent properties, traffic issues, etc.

2012 and beyond: PDC seeks a permit from the Illinois EPA and, if approved, construction of the new landfill begins