ERA landfill hearings held
by Carol Barrel! t Wagner Post
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted two hearings in the area last Wednesday, January 24, one at the National Guard Armory in Wagner and one at the Fort Randall Casino.
The purpose of the hearings was to obtain public input on EPA's tentative decision to waive the geomembrane liner for the Southern Missouri Recycling and Waste Management's regional landfill under construction near Lake Andes.
Testimony was given on both sides of the issue by environmental engineers, attorneys, city, county and tribal officials and ordinary citizens.
Attorney James Abourezk, representing the Yankton ' Sioux Tribe said that the tribe was opposed to the landfill in its present location on former tribal land and "stringently" opposed to the waiver of the liner requirement.
The tribe's wishes have been totally ignored," said Abourezk.
Abourezk explained that because of independent studies conducted by engineers, the
tribe feels that the natural
clay liner will leak, allowing leachate to go into the ground water system. He presented slides from the Vermillion landfill which he claimed showed the leachate running off onto private land.
The tribe understands the impact this leachate will have on their children and grandchildren," Abourezk said.
Mr. Perry Roth, a professor of geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology who is representing the Yankton-Siaux. Tribe, expressed concern that locations of ground water had not been sufficiently documented.
"I'm deeply concerned. The safety of this landfill has not been determined," said Roth.
Jim Stone, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, presented figures which he claimed showed that the increased cost really amounted to very little when broken down on an individual per person basis. He stated that the matter was an issue of jurisdiction.
The state of South Dakota does not have jurisdiction over tribal boundaries," Stone said.
Speaking in favor of the landfill liner waiver was David Templeton of the • South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resourses (DENR). His department is the administrative office for waste management in the state, the one who grants the landfill permits. He spoke about the amount of time and research that the department spends insuring safety issues before granting a landfill permit.
Templeton gave technical data as did John Childs, an engineer with B-&E Engineering of Yankton who designed the SMRWMD landfill.
The two foot compacted clay liner meets the performance requirement," assured Childs.
Attorney Kenneth Cotton oi Wagner, representing the SMRWMD, gave testimony in favor of the liner waiver.
The soils underlying the facility have been shown time and time again to be of such low permeability that a nidi.-made liner is unnecessary," Cotton said.
He also spoke of the additional $250,000 cost per cell in
1995 dollars if the liner is required and the much greater tipping fees that would result.
This is a very onerous financial burden for the rural populations of approximately
25,000 that will be using this facility," said Cotton.
Expressing great concern for the safety issues, Cotton felt the EPA liner waiver, granted
Mr. John Childs, B&E Engineering, Yankton, SD (Photo by Carol Harrell)
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Continued from front
Mr. Ken Cotton, Attorney for the Southern Missouri Recycling and Waste Management District. (Photo by Carol Harrell)
after extensive research on their part, reinforced the safety at the facility.
"It is comforting to know that not only District professionals and South Dakota professionals, but also EPA professionals have all come to the same conclusion that the manmade liner is not necessary at the facility in order to adequately protect the environment," Cotton said.
The comment period on this issue has been extended to February 2 and any written / comments postmarked before • that date will be considered -I when the EPA makes its final decision.
Comments should be sent to Linda Walters, (8P2-P2), EPA, Region VIII, 999 18th Street, Suite 500, Denver, Colorado 80202-2466.
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