City landill in need of expansion

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brookhaven Public Works Director Steve Moreton has his mind seton rubbish.

That’s because he’s facing the end of the Brookhaven Landfill,which is nearing capacity ahead of its planned life cycle and mustbe expanded with the addition of a second Class I Rubbish Field,where construction debris and various other hard products aredisposed of. Moreton said more than eight of the dump’s 10 acreshave been filled, and with the process required to construct a newsite lengthy and strict, he began arranging the paperwork Monday byasking county supervisors to amend their Solid Waste ManagementPlan to allow for the expansion.

“Instead of waiting until the day comes when we can’t doanything, I am laying the groundwork to start another Class Irubbish field,” Moreton told supervisors. “I don’t want to wake upon a Monday morning and us not have a landfill. There’s a page in(the Solid Waste Management Plan) that says we have several yearsleft, but if you ride out there, you can see we don’t have thoseyears.”

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To alleviate the problem, the city is planning to open a second,6-acre rubbish field adjacent to the existing one on County FarmLane.

Moreton said small, preliminary jobs, like taking soil samples,have already been completed and submitted to the MississippiDepartment of Environmental Quality, which keeps a close, governingeye on such projects. He said the city is working withJackson-based engineering firm Pickering Inc., to see the projectthrough.

To open a second rubbish field, Moreton said the city would haveto install a clay-based liner to prevent waste fluids from seepinginto ground water at the site. The liner must be around 5-feetthick, he said, and will require around 60,000 cubic yards ofmaterial. He said the city will use its own equipment and gatherthe material from its own gravel pit north of Brookhaven, but theproject will likely be expensive regardless.

Once a new rubbish field is built, the old one will have to bedeactivated. Moreton said DEQ will not allow municipalities tooperate two landfills simultaneously, and the old dump will need tobe reclaimed – covered with 2 feet of dirt.

In the meantime, city officials are hoping and praying the areacan stay out of the path of severe weather.

“It all depends on if we get major hurricanes and have a lot ofdamage,” Moreton said. “It’s kind of like a gas tank – it dependson how much you drive.”

Moreton said the landfill’s end was accelerated by weatherevents, mainly Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Gustav in2008.

The spinning storms caused great damage in Brookhaven andLincoln County, and the debris subsequently cleaned up wasappropriately deposited in the landfill. More debris was added tothe landfill earlier this year after a series of spring stormsdamaged structures and blocked roads in the city and county.

Aside from the storm-caused debris, the landfill also acceptsthe rubbish leftover from local contractors and city demolitionprojects. Recently, some projects have been turned away. Theremains of the old Gibson’s shopping center at the Highway 51 andBrookway Boulevard intersection had to be trucked to a landfill inMagnolia, Moreton said.

“I couldn’t take the old Gibson’s building – that tells you howmuch space we have left,” he said.