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Updated: Birmingham approves landfill modification, could be open 30 more years near proposed Trussville school site

By Gary Lloyd

The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution approving a plan to modify the existing Eastern Area Landfill by removing the disposal acreage restriction, allowing the city to potentially use the entire acreage for disposal.

The landfill backs up to the Magnolia Place subdivision, and is visible from Mary Taylor Road. The landfill is near the location of the future of a new Trussville City Schools elementary school.

Birmingham City Councilwoman Kim Rafferty “there was no discussion concerning what was near the modifications” being made.

“It has nothing to do with acquiring property or expanding,” Rafferty said. “It has to do with the development of some of the land that we already held. It wasn’t anything where we’re going to get bigger.”

According to a city of Birmingham public notice, the Eastern Area Landfill is an existing municipal solid waste landfill located on 370 acres off Alton Road in eastern Jefferson County. The city of Birmingham has previously received host government approval to dispose waste within 48 acres at the Eastern Area Landfill.

A view of the Magnolia Place subdivision and its proximity to the Eastern Area Landfill (top).
photo courtesy of Dan Bayse

“The City proposes that the host government remove the disposal acreage restriction, allowing the City to potentially use the entire acreage for disposal, subject to regulatory limitations and approval by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for development of disposal units within the acreage in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR Parts 257and 258 (“Subtitle D”); Ala. Admin. Code r. 335-13; and, the City of Birmingham Solid Waste Management Plan,” according to the approved resolution.

The Birmingham City Clerk’s Office provided this statement to The Trussville Tribune: “The City provided the notice of the public hearing as required by Alabama Code Section 22-27-48. Any person concerned or affected was invited by the notice to express their views before the City Council. The area in question has been set aside for use as a landfill for years. We are not expanding the area set aside for landfill purposes. The clarification will allow the development of additional cells within the area set aside years ago for that purpose.”

The landfill is currently permitted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The proposed modification is relevant to and consistent with the city of Birmingham Solid Waste Management Plan.

The entrance Eastern Area Landfill on Alton Drive
photo by Gary Lloyd

Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill said over the summer that the landfill near the Magnolia Place site is about 41 years old and is expected to be full and covered in 10 years. The landfill has had some noise and odor complaints, Neill said, all of which were taken care of. Neill said air quality monitors will be located around the school and checked daily.

Rafferty, however, said a report on the modification plan showed the landfill could be open for the next 30 years.

Trussville City Schools officials on Friday were working to gather information about the approval. Eastern Area Landfill Manager Dan Johnson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Magnolia Place Homeowners Association President Dan Bayse said the association would “vigorously oppose” any expansion of the landfill.

A complaint received by ADEM in April states that “the facility has failed to cover, resulting in odors and vectors. Also, the complainant states that slopes are greater than 4:1, that groundwater is not inspected, and that the sediment basin is inadequate.” A May 29 inspection resulted in a warning letter being issued to the city of Birmingham. Additional inspections were performed June 28, July 17 and Aug. 12. A notice of violation was issued Aug. 30 as a result of the inspection conducted Aug. 12.

Citizens of Birmingham can dispose of waste at the landfill free of charge. Acceptable materials are household plastic containers, aluminum cans, steel cans (canned food), newspaper, flattened cardboard, junk mail, telephone directories, catalogs, magazines, office paper (shredded, too) and textbooks.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. Monday to include a statement from the Birmingham City Clerk’s Office and information on a complaint filed to ADEM in April.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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