by Jon Stimmell
A New England Waste Services plan to expand its landfill in Coventry by 19 acres went through a preliminary Act 250 hearing in Newport, Thursday night.
The plan calls for the development of the additional acreage of double-lined landfill, storage facilities, leachate collection, construction of an access road, and storm water management system improvements.
The Airport Road landfill is currently about 450 acres in size and the waste company is looking to expand their capacity. This is the third phase of the plan for the landfill, which has gone under Act 250 scrutiny in each of the first two development phases.
"If you have a good designer, a good constructor and a good operator, you shouldn't have any problems," said New England Waste Services Vice President Larry Lacky.
David DiDomenico, a state solid waste program expert, said his division was about halfway through the technical review of the application. There are 25 monitoring wells at the site and DiDomenico said three or four wells showed signs of high levels of iron and manganese.
"One of the things they can do is increase the monitoring," he said. "Once that landfill is capped, it will decrease the amount of leachate in the landfill."
"If, for instance, there was a drinking water well nearby, it would be much more important for remediation," he added.
Another issue is bird control - primarily seagulls - which in this case does not appear to be a problem.
"We have had seagull problems in other landfills," said Jeff Bordeau, another state solid waste official. "Most recently, bird populations have gone down in that area."
Use of a propane noise gun and monofilament line have kept the gulls away, as has adequately covering the garbage.
"It's rare to see a bird feeding on the landfill itself," said Bordeau. To control gases coming from the landfill, primarily methane and carbon dioxide from decomposing waste, the company uses flares to burn the gases as they leave the ground.
"We can't commercialize the gas yet," said Lacky. "We'll need about another five years before that will be feasible."
At the next hearing, the Act 250 board will tackle the issues of waste disposal and other water issues related to the landfill.