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August 8, 2019

Closing old landfill comes with $12-million price tag

Photo/Google Earth
From the air, the old landfill (right) that opened in 1974, looks pretty clean. But, it and the adjacent new landfill (center) last year produced 13.5 million gallons of toxic liquid that cost the county $2.4 million to pump and haul away for treatment.
I think it’s a no-brainer.
— Supervisor Chris Butler
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Under pressure from state regulators, Fauquier County probably will spend $12 million to close its old landfill and dramatically reduce the flow of toxic liquid it produces.

The county last year spent $2.4 million to pump 13.5 million gallons of “leachate” from the landfill complex south of Warrenton and haul it away for treatment.

Most of that liquid comes from the old, 36-acre dump that began operating in 1974 on private land, which the county later purchased.

In 2017, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality fined the county more than $18,000 for failing to adequately control the leachate.

> Document at bottom of story

Fauquier agreed to close the old dump.

That will require capping it to deflect precipitation that produces most of the leachate as it percolates through decades’ worth of decomposing rubbish.

Unlike the adjacent new landfill that opened in 1996, the old one has no synthetic liner to help contain leachate. Over the years, that resulted in polluted private wells nearby and the county’s purchase of affected property.

The board of supervisors reviewed its options with consultants Thursday afternoon.

To close the old dump, the county could use a cap that includes a synthetic cover, sandwiched between layers of compacted soil with a grass cover. That method would cost an estimated $12.1 million.

Or, the county could save an estimated $1.6 million with a “clay cap” that consists solely of compacted soil and a grass cover.

But, the more expensive option would perform about eight times better in preventing water infiltration and thus leachate production, according to consultants. It should save up to $1 million annual in leachate pumping, hauling and treatment costs.

“I think it’s a no-brainer,” board Chairman Chris Butler (Lee District) said.

The supervisors soon will decide which option to accept. It will take about a year to cap the old landfill. The county must complete the closure by Dec. 21, 2020, under its agreement with the state.

Fauquier must continue to monitor the closed landfill and wells around it for 30 years.

The new landfill remains mostly inactive. Animal carcasses, sludge and farm waste get buried there.

Fauquier began exporting — rather than burying — trash in July 2015. It gets trucked to a landfill near Richmond that charges about $45 a ton.

The county opened a new “transfer station” for loading trash onto tractor-trailers in 2017.

If Fauquier returned to burying trash here, the new landfill would last about seven more years. Eventually, the county will have to close and monitor that landfill as well.

Contact Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-1845.

DEQ order on Fauquier Landf... by Fauquier Now on Scribd

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JDwarrenton · August 11, 2019 at 10:31 am
Agree w/ Ron's comment below. The County began accepting non-county construction debris and garbage many years ago since doing so filled the coffers to the tune of millions of dollars. Now I guess they will need to spend that money to fix the problem. Though I'm sure they banked that money just like the Federal Government did with our Social Security tax money! Hee-haw, hee-haw!
DonkeyFarmer · August 10, 2019 at 12:39 pm
Linda- I have a little Beagle. I don't let him out at night, we have had bears killing chickens and although ive never seen any, I can hear coyotes. He wouldn't last long. I've tried electric fencing and the deer just run through it. The deer repellant does not work either. When they want something, they find a way. The young bucks even destroy my apple trees rubbing their antlers on the trunks. There are far too many deer around here.
Linda Ward · August 9, 2019 at 7:38 pm
Donkey Farmer - Do you have a dog? Ours chases away anything with sniffing distance of our garden or our chickens. We also brush the dog and the cat, then scatter the hair around the garden. My hair stylist collects hair for one woman who spreads that around her garden beds, it decomposes and seems to be working.

Off-topic too!
DonkeyFarmer · August 8, 2019 at 10:28 pm
I know this is off-topic, but the roundup and farming makes me think about the deer. We have a serious problem with deer here. Every evening I watch 3-8 deer in my pasture and garden eating everything. I have 6 foot fences that do nothing. I am not allowed to shoot the deer either. I like wildlife but there are just too many. They are running in front of cars, destroying gardens. If possible Fauquier should extend the hunting season. Its really out of control. One night there were 10 deer in my field.
DonkeyFarmer · August 8, 2019 at 10:13 pm
I have tried for 3 years now to grow corn and other vegetables without pesticides or Glyphosate (roundup) And i understand now why farmers use it. Between the weeds and the deer, too much rain, not enough is tough. I don't want chemicals in the food my family eats but another hard year of planting and weeding with little results I may also go with the roundup resistant corn.
Linda Ward · August 8, 2019 at 9:32 pm
Fortunate that we don't live near there. It's bad enough with the Biosolids and RoundUp that is applied to the farmland around us. We have been told that it will not leach into our well water, yet I don't trust the EPA or the Virginia Biosolids Council.
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