What’s happening at the Lunenburg Landfill?

Published 8:10 am Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The citizens of Lunenburg County should be very concerned about what’s going on and what’s going into the Lunenburg Landfill. The landfill is owned and operated by Container First Services (CFS).

CFS said that construction of a new lined waste disposal cell would begin immediately after the landfill was purchased and that the old unlined waste disposal cell would be closed by December 2014. Three years later, CFS is still operating the unlined cell and construction of the new cell has not begun.   

CFS is allowed to take in 1,000 tons of waste per day and dump it into a cell that does not comply with the Department of Enviornmental Quality’s (DEQ) regulations for landfills.

Over the last year 54,784.38 tons of waste has been placed at the landfill. Leachate, which is the liquid that drains from a landfill, is draining into a lagoon with an overflow pipe that drains into a creek, according to the DEQ.

This creek flows into Reedy Creek which flows into the Meherrin River.

CFS is required annually to test the well water of citizens who live near the landfill. Landowners who live near the landfill said their wells haven’t been tested since CFS began operations.

CFS is required to cover solid waste daily to prevent trash and debris from blowing and to prevent large flocks of birds from gathering and picking through the waste which can spread disease.

CFS has been inspected by DEQ and twice received a notice of violation for not covering solid waste daily and not having operating equipment on site to cover the waste.

Lunenburg County is supposed to employ a full-time landfill liaison, whose duties include, overseeing the daily operations of the landfill, inspecting the contents of trucks that deliver waste and enforcing the regulations as required by the conditional use permit.

The county receives $55,000 per year from CFS to defray the costs and expenses of hiring a Landfill Liaison. CFS has been operating the landfill for three years and the board of supervisors still has not hired a qualified full-time landfill liaison.

Beverly Hawthorne, director of economic and community development, was assigned the task of part-time landfill liaison. Hawthorne has a full-time job and can’t be expected to perform the duties of the landfill liaison. When asked how many trucks she’d inspected, Hawthorne stated that she had inspected the contents of two trucks. Over the last year a total of 6,947 trucks have delivered waste at the landfill. Currently, no one really knows what’s happening at the Lunenburg Landfill.

Why isn’t the board of supervisors using the money received from CFS to hire a landfill liaison?

That’s the question that needs to be answered. If this problem isn’t addressed the citizens of Lunenburg will pay the price for many years. Come to the next board of supervisors meeting on April 14 at 10 a.m. at Central High School and let your voice be heard.

Cindy Foley is a guest columnist from Lunenburg County. She can be reached at bobandcindyfoley@centurylink.net.