It’ll be a long process, but Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington and the Scott County Fiscal Court say they are ready to leave the landfill business behind.
In a unanimous vote — minus Magistrate Bill Burke who had to leave the meeting early — the magistrates voted to amend the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan and accept “zero” waste once the Central Kentucky Landfill meets its capacity, which could before the end of the year.
The vote was made during a special meeting Thursday and followed nearly an hour-long executive session.
Magistrate Rick Hosteler made the motion aided by attorney Rand Marshall to amend the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan to “accept zero capacity waste” once Central Kentucky Landfill’s capacity is reached. This would include all waste, including Scott County’s own, Marshall said.
Now, the county must notify the state Division of Waste Management of the proposed amendment for its approval. The state will then notify the county of the next steps it must take which will likely include a public notice and public hearing.
Earlier this year, the fiscal court advertised for bids to manage the county’s waste and received three bids, including bids from Rumpke and Republic.
“I believe either can adequately handle all our waste,” Covington said. And either company would dispose of the waste outside the county, he said.
Rumpke is building a waste transfer station in Tri-port Industrial Park on West Yusen Way. The transfer station is not scheduled to be completed for at least a year.
In order to receive approval from the state to amend its solid waste plan, the county must show how it will dispose of its waste. The amendment is not officially part of the county’s waste management plan until all steps outlined by the state are fulfilled.
The fiscal court’s action is another setback for Central Kentucky Landfill’s plans to expand its footprint. Last month, Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman upheld a Dec. 30, 2019 decision by administrative law judge Virginia Gorley denying the landfill’s application to expand.
Waste Services of the Bluegrass, owners of the landfill located in northern Scott County, has appealed the decision in Franklin Circuit Court.
“Since Waste Services of the Bluegrass filed the application with the cabinet eight years ago, it has followed the guidance and directions of the cabinet and has responded to every request made of it by the cabinet, expanding vast amounts of time and money in the process,” David Royse, an attorney for Waste Services told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“While we are troubled by this sudden reversal in position by the cabinet, we have filed for judicial review with the Franklin Circuit Court and we look forward to our opportunity to address this matter in court.”
Controversy has escalated since 2015 when the landfill signed a contract with the Lexington-Urban County government to haul Fayette County trash to Central Kentucky Landfill. Last year, Scott County officials asked Lexington officials not to renew their contract with the landfill, but did so anyway for five additional years in 2019. The contract is for about $3.6 million per year.
The second largest customer for Central Kentucky Landfill is the City of Georgetown. Georgetown services 11,500 households and typically collects around 24 tons per day. In a recent meeting, Mayor Tom Prather said that volume had swelled to 44 tons per day since the COVID-19 shutdown.
“Everyone is cleaning out garages and closets,” he said.
Prather said the city would be in touch with Central Kentucky Landfill officials regarding the county’s actions, but the city’s contract with the landfill recently expired.
“There is a process that must be followed by the county, but we’ll still have to move quickly,” Prather said.
Last year, landfill officials said the existing footprint would run out of space within two years if an expansion is not approved and county officials were aware of the expansion plans when the landfill was purchased from the City of Georgetown in 1999. The current volume of waste being taken to the landfill is such that estimates are the landfill may reach capacity before Christmas.
Citizens living near the landfill have frequently complained about odors and the number of heavy trucks hauling trash traveling U.S. 25.
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.