By Alex Bridges
An engineering firm may fix a drainage issue at a long-closed landfill in Warren County that caught the eye of the state environmental agency.
Warren County and Front Royal officials have been working together to find a low-cost solution to divert water from the Catlett Mountain landfill. The facility, owned jointly by the town and county, closed in 1973.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality advised county and town officials the agency had received complaints of colored liquid flowing from the landfill site. DEQ performed a site investigation and notified the localities of the issue, according to County Administrator Douglas Stanley.
"Basically we've kind of gone through it once with the county's engineer of trying to come up with ways to address DEQ's concerns," Stanley told town and county leaders at a liaison committee meeting Thursday. "We think we have a lower-cost alternative now to address it."
The plan likely will involve grading and constructing a drainage system around the landfill.
As Stanley explained, the town and county would need to send the proposed remedy to DEQ for the agency's approval. Stanley noted that agency officials promised a quick review and turnaround.
Warren County has chosen Patton, Harris, Rust and Associates and officials on Thursday received the proposals for a project that could solve the problem. The proposal calls for the project to cost approximately $15,000, according to Stanley.
"Essentially what we're really doing there is redirecting the drainage away from the old landfill and that will take care of a lot of the issues associated with it," Stanley told town and county officials at the liaison committee meeting.
Stanley said they could sign a contract with PHR&A to perform the engineering on the project as soon as Town Manager Steven Burke sees the proposal. The firm advised Stanley it could complete the engineering and design within 60 days of signing that contract, the administrator said.
Stanley estimated the county could advertise for bids to build the project by late spring with construction beginning in the summer, Stanley said. The town and county would split the cost, Stanley said.
The question remains as to whether fixing the problem is a voluntary move on the part of the town and county.
"That was one of the stances put out there," Stanley responded. "I think DEQ's willing to work with us so we can address the issue, and the issue is water getting into the site."
At another closed landfill the county has asked the DEQ to allow it to report the results of groundwater monitoring less frequent than the permit requires. The county filed a request to allow it to report the monitoring results for the Sanitary Landfill on Shangri-La Road in Bentonville on an annual basis using the calendar year's sampling data, according to the locality's website.
The permit currently requires the landfill to report the results on a semi-annual or quarterly basis.
The DEQ tentatively has decided to grant the request "in an effort to reduce reporting redundancy and its related cost burden on the owner operator while still maintaining protective of human health and the environment through requiring sampling data be reported annually," according to information on the county website.
Before the DEQ can approve such a request the agency plans to take public comments. The comment period begins today and ends Feb. 22.
DEQ accepts comments by email, fax or postal mail. Comments must include the name, address and telephone number of the person commenting. DEQ must receive the comment within the 30-day period. The public may view the variance document at the DEQ Valley Regional Office, 4411 Early Road, Harrisonburg.
Send comments to Graham Simmerman, Land Protection and Revitalization Program Manager, Valley Regional Office, P.O. Box 3000, 4411 Early Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801; by phone at 574-7865; email to firstname.lastname@example.org; by fax at 540-574-7878.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or email@example.com