LETTERS: Some landfill ‘facts’ need to be addressed

This letter is written in response to a statement, made in the Marion County Record about landfills: “Residents should make their decisions based on facts, not emotions.”

Fact: Landfills leak. This comes from various educators with doctorates who have studied landfills for decades (i.e., G. Fred Lee, for one), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the landfill companies themselves.

Fact: Blowing trash will occur in the Kansas wind. The landfill companies state they will pick up trash weekly on major roads within one-half mile of the landfill at least once a week. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality cited Waste Connections, stating that trash at the Red Carpet Landfill, where Wichita’s trash is going, had accumulated over time and was not being picked up weekly.

Fact: Birds. Where there is trash, there will be thousands of birds. These scavengers will not stay entirely at the dump site, but will migrate back and forth from the dump to bodies of water (i.e., Marion County Lake and Marion Reservoir) causing problems for whatever lies in their path.

Fact: Odors. There will be odors -some days will be much worse than others-as the result of a combination of the methane and other gases and rotting trash.

Fact: We will have no control over what enters a landfill. A limited numbers of inspectors (one or two per district) will visit the landfill biannually. Trucks may be inspected, probably no more than one truck a day at each landfill, but this inspection will be done by the landfill companies. Household hazardous waste is allowed, and industrial hazardous waste will slip by the inspection. This fact came from KDHE.

Fact: Some of these problems can be minimized. Experts agree that a “buffer zone” of preferably two miles between the landfill and surrounding homes can help cut down on some of these problems. The town of Marion is in the preferred two-mile “buffer zone,” but outside the half-mile trash pick-up zone.

Fact: Money. Landfill companies are in the business to make money. The more trash hauled in, the more money they make.

Fact: Trash is forever. Subtitle D Landfills are built to entomb trash, creating the probability of producing contaminating leachate, which will endanger humans and the environment forever.

Waste Connections has already been cited by the Oklahoma DEQ for falsifying records and mismanagement of leachate at Red Carpet Landfill. Landfill companies are not required to monitor their pile of trash forever!

These are facts that have nothing to do with emotions. But if landfill proponents want to label us “emotional” because we care about the children and the future of Marion, then we proudly wear the label.

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