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Saufley Landfill solution

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 02:34 PM CDT
ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --  They're dirty, nasty and a nuisance to your neighborhood.
Landfills are littered with potential dangers and environmental hazards.
Channel Three News investigates a viewer tip and a new way to safe-guard your garbage.

It's an epic saga.
A long running tale of issues, complaints and hopefully a solution.
The Saufley Landfill has been a point of contention since Hurricane Ivan.  Now the county feels like they have finally fixed the problem.

But viewer Fred Odom still has several questions. He emailed our Waste Watch tip line asking about what's been done to secure the landfill.  What the future holds for the property and how much the county has paid to make it safer.

It was bad...
George West/Lives Near Landfill
"It was pretty bad on the smell, stink and all. And the fires, that smoke sometimes was really bad."

Wilson Robertson/District 1 Commissioner
"The Health Department issued warnings to them to not go outside for any length of time without masks. So their health was the number one issue. Then the aesthetics, because their property values were just about nil."

Now it's certainly something to see.
It looks like a giant, grassy hill but it's not.

George West/Lives Near Landfill
"It looks pretty good. Now it surprised me the way it does look pretty good now. And I think they did a pretty good job on it."

The landfill grew and grew after Hurricane Ivan.
The Louisiana based company that owned the facility allowed things to be dumped there that shouldn't.

Dust and fumes from the dump and fires caused serious issues for people nearby.
Storm water run off from the site was a serious environmental hazard.

The county had to step in an ensure people's safety taking over the site and coming up with a way to fix things.

Wilson Robertson/District 1 Commissioner
"Most people over the years, for the last 7 or 8 years, until we started this project thought it never would happen. It was so costly it was deemed to be a major cleanup site that might take the federal government to come in. And that takes forever."

Our viewer wanted to know why the "rug" and what's the plan?
We asked and found out that the artificial turf and a liner underneath are there to seal the bad stuff in and keep water out.

Shawn Hamilton/Dep
"They really did a great job of engineering this to minimize the run off. In fact, they've put enough capacity here at the site to treat off site storm water."

But how much does it all cost?.
The project is in the 7-8 million dollar range.
The funding comes from the Local Option Sales Tax.

The expense is more than a traditional dirt closure but the upkeep should be less in the long haul.

Pat Johnson/Solid Waste
"The traditional closure typically will have more upkeep than a closure turf system such as this. Whereby here the monitoring and evaluation is minimal compared to the traditional upkeep with mowing, and trimming, erosion control, things of that nature."

And what about the future?
The Saufley Landfill project could have a shelf life of more than 50 years.
There was once talk of putting a playground on the site but that's not reality now.

Wilson Robertson/District 1 Commissioner
"If we could have got it to ground level it would have been possibly a playground. Nothing could ever be built on it because you can't penetrate that liner."
 
George West/Lives Near Landfill
"It's a lot better than it was. But now you wonder sometimes about spending this kind of money, and not being able to complete the whole."

Pat Johnson/Solid Waste
"Ultimately, the public health and safety will be restored. Environmental hazard will be reduced. And we'll have a good project at the end of the day."

If you have any questions or concerns about the Saufley Landfill you can contact District One Commissioner Wilson Robertson.

If you have an idea for a waste watch report, visit weartv.com and click on Waste Watch to tell us about it.
Saufley Landfill solution


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