Thursday , February 22, 2018 - 11:13 AM
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with comment from the landfill site’s owners.
Owners of a landfill site on Promontory Point near the Great Salt Lake have withdrawn their permit application that would allow them to accept out-of-state waste.
Allan Moore from DEQ’s Division of Solid Waste Management and Radiation Control said the landfill owners likely pulled their application due to public pressure and because of confusion over groundwater monitoring wells that have yet to be installed.
“My thoughts are, with the amount of money they’ve put into it, they need the Class V to survive,” Moore said. “I’d be very surprised that it’s just dropped, especially the way the letter was written. They had a clause that mentioned ‘until further notice,’ which tells me they’re looking down the road for something.”
The company received a $16 million bond last year to begin developing the site. A lined landfill cell, leachate collection system, fences, well and buildings have already been constructed.
The site has a Class I permit, which allows them to take waste with a contract from a local government entity, like a city or county. A Class V permit would allow the site to change to a commercial landfill. Commercial landfills can pursue their own contracts and accept certain types of waste from anywhere, including other counties and other states.
Brett Snelgrove, director of Utah operations for ALLOS Environmental, the landfill’s parent company, said they plan to move forward with pursuing opportunities to take local garbage.
“We’re going to focus on our Class I (permit) that we’re already approved for — focus on moving that forward,” he said.
The reason the company withdrew their Class V application, Snelgrove said, “is to better collaborate with stakeholders, like DEQ and environmental groups.”
In a statement, representatives with Promontory Point Resources said they will now focus on a three-point plan, which includes addressing stakeholder concerns, opening a Class I landfill this year to “develop the track record of a safe and complaint operation” and educating the community.
“I’d like to take people out to the site … so they can see it,” Snelgrove said. “There’s a lot of misinformation, misperceptions we’d like to help extinguish.”
The landfill has yet to receive waste, but the site has raised alarm among environmental professionals because of its location near the Great Salt Lake. The lake and its wetlands are an important stopover site for migrating birds in the West. The lake also generates millions of dollars annually from brine shrimp cyst harvesting and mineral extraction.
Both bird and industry advocates are especially concerned about the landfill owner’s expressed intentions to seek toxic materials like coal ash. A Class I landfill could still technically accept coal ash, but the site owners would need to obtain a contract from a county or city where the waste is produced.
Snelgrove said the facility still plans to develop a railroad spur at the site and bring in waste by train.
Whether Promontory Point Resources will pursue a Class V permit again down the line remains unclear.
“I don’t know what the future holds one way or the other, to be honest,” Snelgrove said.
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