Green Delaware’s detailed comments below
Say YES to “zero waste,” NO to dumping and burning
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On June 4, 2009, (details below) the DNREC will hold a public hearing on a request by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) to expand it’s Sussex County garbage dump.
On June 25, 2009, the DNREC will hold another hearing on a similar request to expand the DSWA’s Kent County garbage dump.
Several years ago, the DNREC let the DSWA (we call it the Garbage Empire) expand its Wilmington/New Castle County garbage dump.Â StrongÂ public opposition was ignored.
The Kent and Sussex dumps don’t seem to generate as much public opposition, partly because they are “out in the country” and better buffered from neighbors. They also aren’t as primitive as the Wilmington dump, which is basically just piles of garbage on top of layers of “spoil” dredged from the Delaware River.
The DSWA has been a main antagonist of Green Delaware throughout the history of our organization.Â Rarely can one find in one place such a concentration of incompetence and dishonesty.Â (We are talking about the management, not the workers one usually encounters.)Â We’ve written about DSWA many, many times and you can find our stuff with a Google search.
Here’s information on the June 4, 2009 hearing on the Sussex County (“Jones Crossroads”) garbage dump:
- “The facility requests to construct and operate a new Cell 5 (29.4-acre) on a site adjacent to the existing Cell 3 and Cell 4 for the continued disposal of solid waste. DSWA estimates that the existing landfill capacity will be reached in early 2012 and the proposed permit major modification would provide sufficient disposal capacity for an additional 8.25 years.”
- “A public hearing will be held beginning at 6 PM on June 4, 2009 at the Delaware Department of Transportationâ€™s South District Building located at 23697 Dupont Boulevard, Georgetown, Delaware. For additional information, please contact Ting Guo AWM/SHWMB, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, 302-739-9403, Ting.Guo@state.de.us.”
- The application, or some of it, is online here:Â http://www.awm.delaware.gov/SHWMB/Pages/DSWASouthernSolidWasteMgtCenterPermitApp.aspx
Here’s information on the June 25, 2009 hearing on the Kent County (“Sandtown”) garbage dump:
- “The facility requests to construct and operate a 59.7 acre landfill cell (Area F) directly adjacent to the existing municipal solid waste landfill cells; Areas C, D, and E. Area F is to be constructed in two separate phases and will include systems for the collection and management of leachate, and landfill gas. Other facility environmental controls and practices will be consistent with current facility operations.”
- “The DSWA estimates that the existing landfill capacity at CSWMC will be reached in early 2013 and the proposed Area F landfill cell will provide an additional 17 years of disposal capacity. Upon the conclusion of landfilling, Area F will be capped with a geomembrane plastic cap and covered with soil to establish vegetative cover.”
- “A public hearing will be held beginning at 6:00 PM on June 25, 2009 at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Richards and Robbins Building located at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, Delaware. For additional information, please contact Avery Dalton AWM/SHWMB, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, 302-739-9403, Avery.Dalton@state.de.us.”
Below are Green Delaware’s comments for the June 4th hearing:
June 3, 2009
Mr. Robert Haynes
Senior Hearing Officer
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
State of Delaware
DSWA – Solid Waste Permit ApplicationÂ SW-00/01 â€¦Â DSWA-SSWMC Cell 5 Disposal Area, Permit Application, a Permit Application to Construct and Operate a Sanitary Landfill for the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA), Southern Solid Waste Management Center (SSWMC), Jones Crossroads, Delaware.
Dear Mr. Haynes:
These comments are submitted by Green Delaware in response to the application of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) for permission to expand the “Southern Solid Waste Management Center,” hereinafter the Jones Crossroads Garbage Dump.
We request that these comments be read into the record at the June 4th public hearing in Georgetown.
(1)Â Â Â Â Â The DNREC should conduct this proceeding so as to maximize public participation.Â This means that members of the public should be admitted as parties, as was customary before the DNREC adopted a policy of minimizing and trivializing public participation.
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Green Delaware requests to be admitted as a party to this proceeding.
(3)Â Â Â Â Â The DNREC should hold an additional public hearing in Lewes or Rehoboth, Delaware, because the present hearing location is somewhat remote from the population center of Sussex County.
(4)Â Â Â Â Â The record in this proceeding should remain open for at least thirty days from June 4th.Â Time is NOT of the essence in processing the permit, whereas a sound decision has implications for long-term waste policy.
(5)Â Â Â Â Â The Delaware Regulations Governing Solid Waste ( http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title7/1000/1300/1301.pdf) state at 1.0 (Declaration of Intent):
- “The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control finds and declares that improper solid waste handling and disposal practices may result in environmental damage, including substantial degradation of the surface and ground water and waste of valuable land and other resources, and may constitute a continuing hazard to the health and welfare of the people of the State.”
Previous dump operations by the DSWA have resulted in environmental degradation, as shown for example by various enforcement actions taken by the DNREC and the US EPA.Â Therefore, to prevent further such problems, the Regulations should be applied to this application with due regard for their intent, and not just in narrow technical terms.
(6)Â Â Â Â Â The Regulations also state:
- The purposes of these regulations are:
- 1. To encourage, in all appropriate ways, recycling, reuse, and reclamation processes ….
The Regulations should be implemented by the DNREC with due regard for their purpose, and not just in a narrow technical way.
The DSWA has a long and continuing history of operating as a “dump company,” minimizing recycling and seeking to maximize waste volumes.Â To approve additional dump capacity, in the continuing absence of serious efforts to increase diversion and recycling, would incentivize additional dumping, contrary to the intent of the Regulations and sound public policy.Â Therefore, the present application should not be approved at this time.
(7)Â Â Â Â Â The enabling legislation of the DSWA states at 7 Del.C. Â§ 6450:
- Â§ 6450. Findings; policy; purpose.
- The General Assembly hereby makes the following findings and declares the following policies and purposes with respect to the recycling and reduction of solid waste materials. It is determined that the reduction of solid waste disposal and recovery of usable materials from solid waste are matters of extreme importance in minimizing the environmental impact of solid waste disposal through landfilling. It is in the public interest to develop a comprehensive statewide system of recycling and resource recovery which maximizes the quantity of solid waste materials which can be recovered, reused or converted to beneficial use. … it is a state goal to provide an opportunity for source separated recycling to every person in the State. In order to accomplish the goals and objectives of statewide recycling and waste reduction, it is determined that the Authority develop a comprehensive program incorporating long range planning, project development, public education and promotion, information gathering, and marketing. It is further determined that the Authority, in developing a statewide comprehensive recycling and waste reduction program, consider measures to remove from the solid waste stream through source separation materials harmful to the environment which cannot be readily or effectively recycled so that such materials can be separately disposed in an authorized manner. These findings, policies and purposes are declared to be in the public interest and these provisions are considered necessary and for the public benefit as a matter of legislative determination, and liberal interpretation in favor of accomplishing the stated goals and objectives shall be provided.
The DSWA has failed to carry out this mandate, but rather, as noted above, has operated as a “dump company.”Â To grant the DSWA additional dump capacity would encourage continued self-serving disregard for Delaware law.Â Therefore, the requested expansion should not be allowed at this time.
(8)Â Â Â Â Â The law cited in (7) calls for …source separation [of] materials harmful to the environment which cannot be readily or effectively recycled so that such materials can be separately disposed in an authorized manner.” However, opportunities for hazardous waste collection in Delaware are limited to a few times a year in a few locations.Â This is grossly inadequate to accomplish more than token separation of household hazardous materials containing, for example, lead, mercury, and paint pigments.Â This ensures that dumped materials will be excessively contaminated with toxins, contrary to the intent of the law cited.Â Dump containment is of limited effectiveness, and this effectiveness is known to decrease with time, leading to eventual dispersion of toxins into air and water.Â The DSWA should not be allowed additional dump capacity until such time as adequate separation of hazardous materials is demonstrated.Â Therefore, the requested expansion should not be allowed at this time.
(9)Â Â Â Â Â The DNREC allowed expansion of the DSWA’s Cherry Island garbage dump by a permit issued January 6, 2006Â ( http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/yardwaste/Documents/Permit%20SW-06-01.pdf ). (Issuance of this permit was strongly opposed by many individuals and organizations including Green Delaware.)Â This permit contained various conditions which the DSWA has not complied with, including:
6(b).Â Â Â “DSWA shall ban yard waste disposal of all yard waste from the … [cherry Island dump] … effective no later than January 1, 20007.” Instead, DSWA used it’s influence in the Delaware General Assembly to foment legislative action to prevent a yard waste ban from going into effect.
6(f) Â Â Â Â “By September 1, 2006, DSWA will update the DSWA Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) 7 Del. C. 6404 (j).”
The proper citation is to Sec. 6403(j) which states:Â “(j) The Authority shall, after notice and public hearing, adopt a statewide solid waste management plan, and amend such plan as necessary.” The DSWA has not adopted a state plan since 1994.Â (Green Delaware participated in the public hearings on the 1994 plan and we recall that the DSWA ignored the extensive public input it received.)
6(g) Â Â Â Â “Recyclables diversion:Â Within six months of issuance of this permit, DSWA shall submit … a comprehensive recycling plan to maximize recycling and diversion of materials from landfill disposal with a goal of recycling 40 percent of the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream in New Castle County by December 31, 2007…Â The plan shall …be incorporated into the updated State Solid Waste Management Plan.”
The DSWA has never submitted a credible recycling plan, nor, as noted above, has it produced an updated State Plan.
Given these flagrant violations of the expansion permit for the Cherry Island dump, it would be foolish of the DNREC to permit expansion of another DSWA dump.Â Rather, the DNREC should issue Notices of Violation and take other measures as necessary to obtain compliance.Â Only after full compliance has been achieved at Cherry Island should the DNREC consider allowing expansion of any other DSWA dumps.
(10)Â Â Â Â The DSWA has taken no effective measures to prevent the dumping of electronic wastes (“e” wastes), contrary to its responsibilities under the law we cite in item (7).Â Therefore, the requested expansion should not be allowed at this time.
(11)Â Â Â Â The DSWA has failed to effectively regulate the dumping of Construction & Demolition (“C&D”) wastes, including old drywall made primarily of gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate).Â Decomposition of this material in dumps is know to produce reduced sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide.Â This is believed to be related to recent serious air pollution violations from a landfill gas burning facility at the Jones Crossroads Garbage Dump.Â This illustrates the generally unacceptable record of the DSWA in operating dumps.Â Expansion, or even continued operation of the dump, under these conditions, constitutes “… improper solid waste handling and disposal practices … [that]… may result in environmental damage, including substantial degradation of the surface and ground water and waste of valuable land and other resources, and may constitute a continuing hazard to the health and welfare of the people of the State.” (Regulations Governing Solid Waste, 1.0 Declaration Of Intent).Â It would not be appropriate to allow expansion of a facility already in substantial violation of the intent of the Regulations.Â Therefore, the requested expansion should not be allowed at this time.
(12)Â Â Â Â Green Delaware is in general agreement with the comments submitted by Mr. Richard H. Anthony of “Plan Delaware,” in which he discusses the inadequacies of the “Environmental Assessment” presented by the DSWA as part of the application materials.
(13)Â Â Â Â The cost of the Cherry Island dump expansion is in the range of 100 million dollars.Â Green Delaware and others have pointed out that this money could be better used to increase diversion and recycling of wastes.Â The same is likely true of the funds proposed to be used to expand the Jones Crossroads Garbage Dump and it’s counterpart facility in Kent County.Â Before these permits are further considered, an independent analysis of the relative costs and benefits of dump expansion vs expanded diversion/recycling (“zero waste”) should be performed made available for public comment.
(14)Â Â Â Â The DSWA has a long and dishonorable history of promoting garbage incineration, a practice even less desirable than indiscriminate dumping.Â Not infrequently, people are told that if they don’t want dumping, they should endorse burning.Â These are NOT the only alternatives.Â Incineration is effectively illegal in Delaware and must remain so.
(15)Â Â Â Â Delaware should make a policy commitment to “zero waste,” meaning that in the short run diversion and recycling should be expected to reach levels of at least 80%.
Concluding, we believe the facts offer only one answer to the DSWA’s dump expansion application: “JUST SAY NO!”
Alan Muller, Executive Director
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA