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Future is looking up, literally, at landfill
King George officials will take preliminary look at vertical expansion of landfill

 Vertical expansion of King George Landfill would be years down the road, but officials are opening dialogue now.
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Date published: 1/27/2013


The King George Landfill doesn't want its operations to get any closer to neighbors, so there's only one way it can expand when it reaches capacity.

It will have to go up instead of out, said District Manager Thomas Cue.

Recently, he got permission from the Board of Supervisors to look into the possibility of a vertical expansion at the facility, the largest landfill in the region.

Such a project would be years down the road, Cue said, and King George County officials would have to approve it. But because the process takes so long, it's time to begin discussions.

"I have to start it, I have to get the ball rolling," Cue said.

Supervisors said they had no problems with him getting preliminary drawings of what a vertical expansion would look like. Cue said it should take about four months to get the renderings, which would show potential views from State Route 3 and neighboring vantages.

He said an expansion about 100 feet high would add 15 years to the life of the landfill. The trash wouldn't be stacked straight up, Cue said, but would be arranged in "benches," similar to terraced landscaping.

Vertical expansions, which feature mechanically stabilized earth berms, "are very common throughout the country," said Bryan Wehler, vice president of an engineering firm in Hershey, Pa., that specializes in waste management.

About half the states in the nation have them, Wehler said. Pennsylvania has more than 10.

Localities often go vertical at existing landfills instead of finding "a new, green space for a new landfill," said Richard Doucette, a manager in the Northern Virginia office of Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality. The state approves one or two expansions a year, he said.

"It does make more sense not to use up an area that could be used for something else," he said. Also, at a landfill, "the land is already perfectly designed, and a lot of the infrastructure is already in place."


Cue is looking ahead, as 2012 was the halfway point of the landfill's life expectancy.

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