Landfill recertify unsettled

Published 6:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brookhaven officials are hopeful the city’s landfill will soonbe recertified, but in the meantime they are taking steps to removea vacant building that has become unsightly and potentiallydangerous.

The old Stahl-Urban building sits empty – a fire hazard andvandal attraction – on Main Street. City officials voted Tuesday toseek bids for the building’s demolition, agreeing it’s time for itto be leveled.

Still, the process will take some negotiating, asrecertification time for the city landfill means a holdup on whatcan be dumped there. Demolition debris like that from theStahl-Urban building would need to go in Rubbish Fill No. 1, but itcannot until the landfill is recertified by the state Department ofEnvironmental Quality.

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The recertification process, officials say, occurs every eightto 10 years through DEQ. While Rubbish Fill No. 2 has been recentlyrecertified, it is only approved to hold yard debris like leavesand brush.

“You can put a larger variety of debris in Rubbish Fill No. 1,”Mayor Bob Massengill said. “We’re hopeful of hearing something soonon the recertification process.”

Massengill said while the city landfill itself is over 100acres, Rubbish Fill No. 1 is about 10 acres. While it is expectedto pass recertification, the city eventually will have to find aplace to develop a new landfill, as much of the other acreage inthe current one is other fills that have been used to capacity.

“At a point, we’ll no longer be able to use this landfill. Butif we’re recertified this time, it will be useable for several moreyears,” the mayor said. “But if for any reason it’s notrecertified, we’ll have to develop another landfill.”

There are certain specifications that must be met for DEQ toallow a landfill, Massengill said, and the recertification processis basically a checkup to make sure those criteria are still met.DEQ officials check for things like the geographical slope of thelandfill, as well as making sure there is a certain amount ofcompact land under the dump site to prevent seepage into theaquifers and groundwater underneath.

“The cost is such that we hope at this time not to have to putin a new one, especially not with the economy as it is right now,”Massengill said.

City officials turned in all the proper paperwork to the DEQ inlate April, Massengill said, adding that DEQ has always beencooperative with the city and that the results of therecertification should probably be released soon.

Still, he said, it should be clear that there is not a healthhazard or any other kind of “issue” involving the landfill.

“There’s not a problem,” he said. “It’s not something wrong.It’s just the normal recertification process.”

Meanwhile, creative bidding is the name of the game for the citywhen dealing with the Stahl-Urban building.

“The hope is that there is enough value in the building itselfthat it won’t cost the city too much to have it demolished,” saidMassengill. “It’s definitely not getting better with age, and I’mpleased the board saw fit to approve its demolition.”

Massengill said in the past contractors had expressed interestin demolishing the building for salvage. Aldermen said Tuesday thatthe building did have some salvageable materials.

“It’s got some great flooring in it,” said Ward Five AldermanD.W. Maxwell.