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ADEM issues enforcement notice to landfill near Trussville neighborhood

By Gary Lloyd

BIRMINGHAM — The Alabama Department of Environmental Management last Wednesday posted an enforcement notice on its website relating to the Eastern Area Landfill’s failure to adequately cover landfill slopes.

The 370-acre landfill is located in the city of Birmingham but backs up to the Magnolia Place subdivision area of Trussville, and is visible from Mary Taylor Road. The landfill is near the location of the future of a new Trussville City Schools elementary school.

According to the notice, ADEM is proposing to issue a consent order to the city of Birmingham, which operates the Eastern Area Landfill, a solid waste disposal facility. The violations listed in the consent order consist of failure to adequately cover landfill slopes.

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

In the notice, ADEM is proposing a civil penalty in the amount of $5,000. If issued, the order would require the facility to correct the violations and operate in compliance with ADEM standards in the future. Interested people may submit written comments, including a request for a hearing, within 30 days of the publication date of the notice, to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, attention to Phillip D. Davis, chief of the Land Division, P.O. Box 301463, Montgomery, AL 36130-1463.

ADEM in November 2013 notified Birmingham Public Works that the Eastern Area Landfill had violated its stormwater permit.

According to ADEM’s letter, information submitted to the department indicates that contaminated stormwater “may be draining from the active face of the landfill, roadways, and maintenance areas into a water of the state, which is located in a low-lying wooded area east of the landfill’s property and west of Magnolia Place subdivision, prior to entering Stinking Creek. If a discharge to this water of the state is occurring, it would be considered unpermitted as it is not the receiving stream indicated in the NPDES Permit and stormwater from maintenance areas is not covered in your current permit.”

On Oct. 7, Magnolia Place Homeowners Association President Dan Bayse submitted a complaint about the landfill’s “failure to control their stormwater,” according to his complaint.

“We look at the landfill every day,” Bayse said last year. “In December 2012, we began documenting and making ADEM aware of the landfill’s violations of the laws and regulations. This last complaint was one of several. Everyone can see the results. This monitoring will continue.”

The Birmingham City Council in October 2013 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.

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.

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

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