Class 1 landfill appears imminent

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By Larry Clifton

ACMS Inc. and the City of Bushnell recently got the thumbs up from the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to proceed with plans to construct a Class 1 landfill in the heart of the county on a parcel of land annexed by the city. The last state roadblock to the project’s development was removed when an amendment filed by the city was deemed compliant by a state judge.
The compliant ruling cleared the way for ACMS to develop construction drawings for the Class 1 dumpsite and the next step is for the solid waste disposal company to gain approval of its drawings from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to Vince Ruano, Bushnell city manager.
“After ACMS construction plans are approved by DEP the company will need to submit an application for site plan approval by the city,” said Ruano.
Plans to build the Class 1 landfill on a 550-acre parcel due west of the recently closed county waste transfer station at 835 County Road 529, off C.R. 470 between Lake Panasoffkee and Sumterville, hit a snag last year when a stipulated agreement between the city and DCA was deemed not to be in compliance.
A state judge ruled on the case near the end of last year and the time period set aside for “affected persons” to challenge the agreement recently ended, clearing the way for ACMS to develop working plans to submit to DEP. The state administrative hearings on land use were the last major obstacle to ordering actual construction plans to be drawn up.
Ruano said the city has set up a supplemental community trust fund in part to deal with potential environmental impact or legitimate adverse impact to property owners.
“Part of the money raised by landfill operations can be used to fund other approved city projects and part of the revenue is set aside to remedy any potential adverse impacts,” Ruano said.
According to an overview published by DEP, Class I landfills allow for a more diverse range of waste to be dumped including organic matter, agricultural waste from farming operations, industrial waste approved by DEP and household and commercial solid waste. Class III waste is also allowed at Class 1 sites, including materials like tires, carpet, glass furniture and plastics.
Typically, perimeter berm walls hide trash mounds in access of 100 feet above sea level in Class 1 landfills and refuge is covered by more than six inches of soil daily to contain odors and to discourage vultures.
Bushnell will be paid a per-ton host fee for refuge hauled from areas in Sumter and from surrounding counties.
Bushnell hauled its refuge to the county’s transfer station until late last year when the county privatized operations and closed its facility. Since that time, the city has been hauling its refuge one to two trips per day, four times a week, to a transfer site in Groveland, according to Ruano.
By providing ACMS a site for its landfill, the city will gain a permanent location within the county for disposal of its refuge while indefinitely dumping “host fee” money into city coffers.