Waste Pro is hoping to begin an expansion of Kemper County (Miss.) Landfill this year, which would double the size of the site and add 20 years to its life.
At its current capacity, with waste reception volumes of 50,400 tons per year, the landfill would be topped out by 2029. The project would buy time for the operation to continue well into the future and help meet a guideline for Mississippi municipalities mandating they have a 20-year waste disposal plan.
The expansion, which would likely take place adjacent to the site, would solve another issue; ensuring sufficient cover soil and clay material for compliance with Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) mandates. The landfill would otherwise experience a shortage of these materials within the next two to five years.
There are some logistics to work out. The property Waste Pro expects to build on is owned by the Kemper County school board. The school board, along with the Kemper County board of supervisors, must agree to a property swap of at least equal value to be deeded to the school board, in accordance with Mississippi law.
The county plans to buy property to offer in exchange from Weyherhaeuser, forest product manufacturers.
“We believe we have found property acceptable to both boards but are waiting for Weyherhaeuser to survey it,” says Jeffrey Papasan, Waste Pro’s regional landfill manager. “We hope the final purchase agreement and the exchange will be made early this year. Then we will be positioned to work on the engineering design to submit for MDEQ review and approval, which we hope to have before MDEQ this year.”
Papasan adds that when the expansion is completed, Waste Pro will still have ample acreage to provide disposal services for customers “so we do not wake up in three to five years to no available airspace.”
The operations plan is to maintain current waste streams and customer base, which include household, industrial and other non-hazardous and non-nuclear solid waste, while maximizing the site’s potential. It would also receive additional volumes of waste generated by a nearby coal plant.
When the landfill was established, the county agreed to an option to provide additional acreage for growth, an offer that expires in 2019. Waste Pro is exercising that option and will likely lease or buy the earmarked acreage, currently used for timber farming, from the county.
There is also available airspace on the east side of the landfill but it would have been a costly investment, as it holds a sedimentation pond that would have had to be relocated.
A 2015 annual report, generated on behalf of Kemper County, showed a landfill capacity of 789,991 tons of waste, with 7.8 acres of disposal footprint and 14 years remaining at the time. The likely expansion will have sustainability advantages for all parties.
“The county will benefit from the expansion in that it receives a discounted garbage disposal fee for making the property available.
“Also, we see it as an existing, growing business that will hopefully offer more job opportunities within the county while ensuring we have a safe way to continue disposing of our waste once the landfill nears the end of its current capacity,” says Craig Hitt, executive director of Kemper County Economic Development Authority.