CATEGORY: WAS Waste/Landfills



By Jane Hill

Daily Journal

HOULKA – The public is invited to attend a public hearing concerning three environmental permit applications for the continued operation and expansion of the Prairie Bluff Sanitary Landfill in Chickasaw County.

The hearing will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Chickasaw County Courthouse in Houston.

The landfill, which is owned and operated by Waste Management Inc. of Mississippi, is located three miles north of Houston.

Currently, Waste Management has a permit from the state to bury nonhazardous household waste on 38 of the 429 acres it owns in the county.

One of the permits would allow the company to expand the area in which garbage can be buried to include an additional 198 acres, bringing its total to 236 acres.

Tim Aultman of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said if the permit is approved, the 198 acres will be approved for waste disposal but only for a period of 7 years.

According to state and federal law, if there are serious infractions during those 7 years, the permit may not be extended, even if all the acreage has not been used.

Aultman said the life expectancy for the Prairie Bluff facility is 30 to 40 years.

Billy Warden, head of the solid waste division of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said in the past permit requests of this size were uncommon. However, the shrinking number of landfills across the nation has caused a larger volume of waste to be brought to permitted landfill. That shortens the life of each landfill cell and, in turn, has caused private companies and public entities owning landfills to seek larger permitted areas for waste disposal.

The hearing also will address a request by the company to modify its current arrangement with regard to landfill leachate and equipment wash water. Waste Management is seeking to increase the amount of leachate it can transport and discharge in the Columbus Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Leachate is the liquid that collects in the bottom of a landfill from rainwater that touches the garbage and from the decomposition of the waste itself. According to sanitary landfill regulations, this liquid must be collected through a drainage system installed in the base of the landfill, pumped out and treated in a certified wastewater treatment facility.

The February hearing also will address a request from Waste Management for a stormwater discharge permit. If granted, this permit would allow for the discharge of rainfall runoff from the landfill site into Little Houlka Creek and one of its tributaries.

By law, rainwater that comes into direct contact with garbage cannot be discharged into any adjacent streams. In the case of the Prairie Bluff Landfill, that water must be transported to the Columbus Wastewater Treatment Plant.

All comments concerning environmental issues will be considered by the Environmental Quality Permit Board. Oral and written comments may be made at the public hearing. Written comments also will be accepted at the office of Pollution Control Nonhazardous Waste Branch until 5 p.m. Feb. 9.

Fore more details about Waste Management’s permit applications, for a copy of the draft permits, or to submit comments, contact Tim Aultman, Office of Pollution Control, P.O. Box 10385, Jackson, MS 39289-0385, or by telephone at (601) 961-5171.

Waste Management’s permit applications are also available for review at the Houston Carnegie Library, 105 W. Madison St., Houston.

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