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Future is looking up, literally, at landfill page 2
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.
FILE/PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 1/27/2013

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The facility opened in 1996 and is expected to reach capacity by 2028. While it has brought its share of controversy--from truck traffic, rotten-egg odors and the disposal of partially cremated remains of service members--the landfill has been a cash cow for King George.

The county gets $5 for each ton of garbage dumped at the landfill. It also gets 10 percent of the revenue generated from Waste Management's gas-to-energy plant.

That operation turns methane gas--a natural byproduct of trash--into electricity and sells it to Dominion Power.

In 2012, King George got almost $7 million in landfill revenue. The total was higher than the yearly average (about $6.4 million for the three previous years) because the landfill took in more trash in 2012 than for a typical year, Cue said.

The county allowed the extra tonnage because the landfill didn't meet its trash quota in 2010 and 2011.

King George uses the landfill money to pay back debt. County officials have talked for several years about how to replace the revenue when the landfill closes, but Supervisor Ruby Brabo said there's "no solid plan in place to generate the replacement revenue needed."

"Extending the life of the landfill is a necessity at this point," she said, adding that the county debt totals $73 million. The landfill expansion "is critical to the county's bottom line."

Supervisor John LoBuglio said he'll approach the potential expansion with an open mind, but that public safety and water quality will be his primary concerns.

Chairman Dale Brooks Jr. and Supervisor Joe Grzeika did not respond to a reporter's request for comments. Supervisor Cedell Brooks Jr. was sick the night Cue made his presentation and did not attend the meeting.

'LIKE A GRASSY HILL'

County zoning ordinances will dictate the height of the vertical expansion, and DEQ will oversee requirements for slope and stability, Doucette said.

The expansions are manmade structures that need to be maintained the same way as bridges, buildings and other infrastructures, said Wehler, the waste-management company executive.

Vertical expansions in other landfills typically go up 100 to 150 feet, depending on their size. Doucette said that at one proposed site in Fairfax County, officials put weather balloons around to illustrate how the expanded landfill would look from neighboring viewpoints.

DEQ suggests using cover landscaping to camouflage the expansion, "so it doesn't look like a big pile of trash," Doucette said.

He said the King George landfill already makes the area look as pleasant as possible for a place that handles 4,000 tons of trash a day.

From the road, "It just looks like a grassy hill," Doucette said.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425
Email: cdyson@freelancestar.com


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