Landfill companies: listen to residents

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A school bus accident on Nov. 13 and a public hearing for a closed landfill at Victoria Public Library Thursday, and a lawsuit between Container First Services (CFS) and the Commonwealth of Virginia has raised alarm from residents about the enormous impact landfills have in our county, and the devastating effect that the industry can have on transportation and health.

The driver of the dump truck from CFS, John Grizzard, was charged with failure to maintain control of his vehicle after the truck struck a school bus causing it to overturn on its side, and six of the 13 children in the bus were taken to the hospital, as well as the bus driver.

In order for CFS to improve operations at the Tri-City Landfill in Petersburg, which is currently the subject of a lawsuit between the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, CFS has, since September, transported approximately 300 tons of materials a day from Petersburg to the Lunenburg landfill. Due to the high volumes of material being transferred, it’s imperative, it’s essential for CFS to employ the safest transportation of materials to and from Lunenburg. It’s imperative, especially with the inclement weather over the past few months with hurricanes Florence and Michael, and with winter snow and sleet approaching, to keep roadways near the landfill clear from mud or debris.

Phil Peet with Weaver Landfills LLC and Dr. Leonard Ford with Draper Aden Associates based in Richmond spoke Thursday about the potential to end post-closure monitoring of the now-closed Weaver Landfill at Shelburn Lane, which accepted materials with asbestos.

Among other items discussed during the meeting, it was alarming to find that groundwater, or water that collects underneath the landfill has run downhill from the landfill into a stream at the bottom of the hill; that levels of Freon in the stream exceeded the regulations established by DEQ; that there are concerns from nearby residents about potentially harmful items other than asbestos being placed in the landfill and reports of discolored drinking water and acidic odors by neighboring residents of the landfill.

Those who spoke during the Thursday hearing and those affected by the Nov. 13 accident have serious concerns about these damaging impacts and the roles of the companies to correct them. It’s important to note that these actions don’t only affect the families of those in the accident or those who live on Shelburn Lane, it affects the safety and health of everyone in the county.

That’s why I want to add my voice to those asking that CFS employ every safety measure possible to keep roadways and those closest to the Lunenburg landfill safe, and that Weaver Landfills LLC and the Virginia DEQ continue post-closure monitoring.

Emily Hollingsworth is a staff reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Emily.Hollingsworth@KVDispatch. com.