By Erica Thomas, managing editor
Some Trussville residents came to the Trussville City Council workshop on Thursday, May 23, 2019, to voice concerns over the expansion of Birmingham’s Eastern Area Landfill.
The permit modification was made on Monday, May 13, 2019, after ADEM reviewed comments from the public for weeks. Those comments included concerns about the Bangor Aquifer, which feeds Trussville’s water source, sinkhole concerns and stormwater management. The permit modification contains requirements including routine inspections. ADEM said it would ensure compliance by continually evaluating the landfill.
Trussville Gas and Water supplies water to about 37,000 residents in Trussville, east Birmingham, Irondale, Argo and Center Point.
“I was kind of getting the feel that it’s been in the works for a long time…so a lot of questions and concerns came about,” said Shah.
Council President Jef Freeman said he feels city leaders have been very vocal about their opposition to the landfill expansion. Freeman said during the process, city leaders have discussed the issue in several public meetings.
Shah said he and his neighbors also want to know what to do next to continue to try and stop the move by the city of Birmingham. Shah said he has been getting an influx of calls and texts from his neighbors who are against the expansion. He said they have been meeting over the issues and they feel there is still hope they can stop the expansion.
“It seems like the city of Trussville has done everything they can from an official body, but it seems like there’s still something missing that can be done,” said Shah.
Freeman spoke up and told Shah the city has been attacking the effort to expand the landfill with “vicious force” since 2013.
“Let me just quickly address something you said,” Freeman said. “You’re preaching to the choir.”
Freeman said the council and the mayor have been against the landfill from the beginning. The city activated the Cahaba River Society to help fight the expansion. The council requested the Utilities Board write letters of concern to ADEM while ADEM was reviewing the permit. The city also contacted lawmakers. Freeman said city leaders wrote letter directly to ADEM to stop the expansion. The response to those concerns was released after ADEM approved the permit modification.
“The city of Trussville isn’t the one building the damn landfill,” he said. “If you want to be an advocate against landfills, this is not the room the be advocating in. You need to go to the Birmingham City Council. Go down and lay in their floor and kick and scream.”
Freeman told Shah he appreciated the work he had done.
Shah has talked to officials with Trussville, Birmingham, the Jefferson County Commission and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management about the expansion. He said he wants the city to work together with residents to file a lawsuit against Birmingham or appeal the decision made by ADEM to modify the permit.
Another resident of Magnolia Place, William David Rivers II, came prepared with a speech for the council.
“Please stop the landfill from proceeding further,” Rivers said. “Protect our greatest treasure, our children, from what is, as of right now, a preventable disaster. Stand against those who do not respect or care if they pollute our community.”
Rivers said he is praying that God gives the council wisdom and favor in their decisions and actions.
Freeman said he is out of ideas on how to stop the expansion. He said the issue is not something he has taken lightly and he said the city of Trussville has tried to talk to the city of Birmingham about concerns.
“I think if you investigate further you will see that the city of Trussville has put forth more effort than you realize,” Freeman said.