Residents Speak Out Against Proposed Landfill Expansion

Waste Management is seeking state approval to expand its landfill in Pearl River County. The expansion is two-fold, to fill up more space and to bring in garbage from farther away.

People who live near the landfill are turning up their noses to both ideas.

Donald Smith was born and raised in a house about a mile from Waste Management's Pearl River County landfill. He didn't want the landfill in the first place and he says he doesn't want to see it grow.

"I'm opposed. Obviously, we're going to be buying other people's garbage, number one. Number two, it's going to fill that up quicker than it would normally with just this area right here."

Right now Central Landfill uses 70 of its 300+ acres. Waste Management is seeking a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality to use an additional 47 acres.

"It is a must for us because our volumes have gotten so low that we're just on the line on whether we can keep going or not," Waste Management's District Manager Mike Hall said.

Residents like Ted Williams don't care about the reasons for expanding the landfill.

"They've already filled up one spot in that landfill. They negotiated land and made another landfill, actually, and it's getting bigger and bigger."

Waste Management also wants to expand its service area, to haul in garbage from as far away as Baton Rogue.

"Our current service area is adjoining counties in Mississippi and parishes in Louisiana. We're asking to expand our service area to an 85 mile radius, excluding waste from Alabama... and house to house garbage in Orleans Parish," Hall said.

Williams worries that will create a traffic nightmare in his community.

"What they're talking about dumping, that's a major lot of traffic on our roads. Our kids are around these roads. That's just putting a lot of safety issues out there also."

Waste Management officials don't believe more trucks on the road will be noticeable, but residents against a bigger landfill plan to ask many more questions.

There will be a public hearing on the issue Thursday, June 30th at 6:30 PM at the McNeill Auditorium on Alphabet Avenue.

by Al Showers