landfills: How Boats, Planes and Wildlife Can Co-exist at the Old Landfill

Plans for a model airplane field atop an old landfill may take flight if two Texas communities agree. This creative concept for a closed site is the result of an arrangement between the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency (BVSWMA), which serves both College Station and Bryan, Texas, and College Station's park department.

The city of College Station originally permitted the Rock Prairie Road Landfill in 1981 to serve Bryan and College Station, A&M University and 13 surrounding counties. BVSWMA was established in 1990 and now is responsible for the landfill's operation, closure and post-closure maintenance.

The 120-acre site includes 69 acres of disposal area and is adjacent to Lick Creek. Since off-site clay materials were needed to complete fill operations and closure, BVSWMA acquired 70 adjacent acres as a source of borrow material. Excavation and borrow material use began in 1994.

In 1995, BVSWMA turned to College Station Parks and Recreation Department for possible end-uses for the landfill and borrow area. In addition to the typical ideas for baseball and soccer fields, the Parks Department suggested fulfilling more unusual requests from local remote control plane and boat enthusiasts, the Brazos County Archery Association, proponents of nature trails and local fishermen. These novel ideas formed the basis for a conceptual end-use plan.

BVSWMA had several objectives as it planned area development and initiated the end-use plan. The agency wanted to ensure efficient development of the borrow operation throughout the landfill's remaining life. It also wanted to leave behind an asset that would be valued by local citizens.

To ensure that the flooded borrow pits would not stagnate, they would be hydraulically connected to Lick Creek. The new 20-acre lake is approximately 20 feet deep, and would accommodate a remote-controlled boat facility at one end and a fishing dock at another. A radio-controlled model airplane field will be located atop the closed landfill, while the terraced landfill side slope between the boat and plane facilities seemed like the obvious site for a bleacher-like observation area. The area adjacent to the lake and the creek could be used for RV camping [see map on page 18].

High-quality wetlands can be developed around the lake's perimeter and in the wooded creek area. These improvements could be eligible for use as mitigation, if needed by BVSWMA during its next landfill establishment, or for sale of wetland mitigation credits to other developers.

The wooded area closest to the wetland and creek was designated to accommodate either a walking archery trail or a disk-golf course that could be linked to hiking or biking trails.

The conceptual end-use plan has received strong support from BVSWMA's Board of Directors, the College Station Parks and Recreation Board, and the public. Even with this initial support, the plan's implementation will require the two cities, the Parks and Recreation Department and BVSWMA to work together.

BVSWMA will take responsibility for most of the plan's basic earthwork activities, as well as handle landfill maintenance and monitoring for at least 30 years after closure. However, College Station must be involved in the development and maintenance of park-related facilities, too. College Station will manage park-related improvements in the Lick Creek Recreational Area, and will mow the landfill.

Notes USA Waste Services Inc., Houston, has sold $500 million of senior notes. Net proceeds from the offerings will be used to repay indebtedness under the company's bank credit facility.

People Carl Einberger has joined Hart Crowser, Seattle, as associate hydrogeologist.

Craig Fergusson has joined the sales and marketing department of Landfill Gas & Environmental Products Inc., Santee, Calif.

William F. Bonham has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer for Med/Waste Inc., Miami Lakes, Fla.