To the Editor,

Through this “Letter to the Editor” I would like to encourage discussion and to notify the citizens of Scott County of the scheduled closure of the Central Kentucky Landfill (CKY) on Oct. 31 of 2021. My guess is many residences of Scott County have no idea the landfill is closing.

With a local landfill being such a valuable resource for Scott County; why has this not been placed on a ballet during one of the elections? To me it would seem this should be decided by all the people of Scott County.  The Georgetown News-Graphic had a recent poll showing a 61% to 38% in favor of allowing the landfill to remain. The poll does not show how many people participated.  Those numbers would be interesting to see and would give insight into how many people are aware of the situation. My guess is not many.

I will not get into the “politics” and the “he said/she said” of why the landfill is closing; I understand this is a very emotional topic. However, I would strongly encourage a county wide voice on this matter.

Instead, I would like to discuss the landfill itself. The good and bad.     

Let’s discuss some perceived negative aspects of having a landfill in Scott County first:

— Scott County receives waste from other counties. Yes, CKY accepts waste from nine counties surrounding Scott County, not the entire state, and not on rail from other states. Landfills provide a vital role for society. The regulations and operational costs of a modern landfill have resulted in regional landfills much like the Walmart’s and Kroger’s have replaced the smaller shops in our towns. I would like to ask; is there a single household in Scott County that produces “zero” waste? I don’t think so. Where do you propose your waste should go? The answer I am hearing is “anywhere as long it is not in my county”. I am not fond of other counties’ waste either, but I understand the times we’re in. CKY is a modern environmentally correct landfill and if allowed to operate as it should (not stifled), could be the standard for landfill operation.  

— There is garbage truck traffic to and from the landfill. Yes, there are garbage trucks on US-25, there are also semi-trucks bypassing the scales on the interstate running on US-25, there are many gravel trucks, dirt hauling trucks, moving trucks, delivery trucks, etc on US-25, the same as on any other major road in Scott County. Over the past three or so years, the landfill has requested haulers coming to CKY to utilize I-75 up to exit 136 vs. 129. This has shortened the interaction of landfill trucks to a much smaller and less populated section of US-25. Personally, I drive on US-25 daily and I do not like commercial truck traffic on it either. My reason is the condition of the road.  This road has not been upgraded in nearly 20 years and is in horrible condition. My focus would be asking our government officials to make this road safe for any traffic rather than trying to restrict the traffic on it. CKY’s owner has stated he would welcome the ability to build a dedicated service road just for them at their expense to remove their traffic from Double Culvert Road, and US-25.

— There is smell coming from the landfill. At times, yes. CKY has made great efforts to improve their odor control. They have also installed a gas collection system that collects and destroys the odor carrying landfill gas, further reducing odors. Today there is very little odor on site at CKY. However, at times there may still be some odor escaping due to some abnormality in the operation of the landfill. For example, the one Notice of Violation (NOV) for odor CKY received for 2021 was when their gas collection system malfunctioned for more than a few hours and they self-reported this to the Ky. Air Board, thus receiving a NOV. These situations are very rare today. 

Now let’s examine some of the good CKY provides Scott County:

— CKY provides 110 good paying jobs for people from the local and surrounding communities. If the landfill closes, those jobs are gone.

— Low waste disposal costs. The only bidder to replace CKY in removing the city of Georgetown’s waste was 2.75 times cost up. Even though the city of Georgetown decided not to accept any more waste into Scott County and to close the landfill; where do you think Scott County’s waste goes today? To The Central Kentucky Landfill.  Think about that for a minute.

— CKY accepts items the garbage truck will not. Currently many citizens and businesses use CKY to dispose of construction and demolition waste. Homeowners take mattresses, TV’s, debris from cleaning out the garage or barn, old couches, and other furniture, and many more items. If allowed to remain open and these items are taken on the first Saturday of the month, they are free to dispose of.  How will these items be disposed of in the future? You think the garbage truck is going to pick up your old couch? 

— CKY is a modern landfill with modern practices to ensure our water is protected. By far the largest percentage of waste going into a landfill is organic, therefore there is a significant amount of water produced from the decaying waste. Before any waste was deposited at CKY, cells were prepared to accept waste. Two plus feet of impermeable clay is laid down, underlayment was placed on top of the clay further ensuring no water can escape the cell or enter the ground water. Drainage systems are laid on top of the underlayment to collect water from the waste as it decomposes. This water goes directly to the Georgetown water treatment plant and not into the streams or ground water as with an older landfill. They have also installed a toe drain around the entire landfill to capture any runoff water; this too goes to the water treatment plant. Routine ground water testing by independent sources ensures the integrity of this system.

— CKY is a Green Energy Producer. Once the waste is covered up with dirt, small organisms start eating the waste. As these organisms process their waste, methane gas is produced. Other gases such as C02 and sulfides are produced from the decaying trash as well. It is the sulfides that produce the “smell” from the waste. CKY has installed a gas collection system that collects the gas form the landfill rather than letting it escape into the air like landfills with out a gas collection system. Methane makes up about 48% on average of this gas. At CKY, this gas is used as fuel for two 1 Mega-Watt generators with the capacity to produce enough electricity for 1,600 average size households. The production of electricity not only reduces the use of fossil fuels, but it destroys the landfill gas and prevents it from entering the atmosphere and causing harm to the environment.  

I hope what is written here invokes thought in each of you. No matter if you are in favor of closing the landfill or in keeping it open; I encourage you to have conversations with your local officials concerning this important topic for Scott County.  If you like, take a tour of the landfill, and talk to its management as I have. Go see for yourself and then make up your mind. The landfill welcomes visitors weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Chris Adkins

Advantage Kentucky Alliance

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