CATEGORY: WAS Waste/Landfills
Chronology of NE Miss. Regional Solid Waste Management Landfill
By Jane Clark Summers
1. The Northeast Mississippi Regional Solid Waste Management Authority is formed in January 1992 by the counties of Alcorn, Benton, Marshall, Prentiss, Tippah and Tishomingo and the municipalities within those counties to cope with stricter federal guidelines that will take effect in October 1993. The six-county authority represents over 100,000 people and is expected to generate over 110,000 tons of waste per year.
2. The authority hires Neel-Schaffer, a Tupelo engineering firm, to draw up a master plan for waste management. The plan, completed by mid-1992, recommends a regional landfill.
3. In early 1992, Marshall County votes to withdraw from the authority. The withdrawal was not recognized by the authority.
4. In February 1993, after two years of study, the authority selects a Walnut site for a regional landfill because of its size, proximity to adequate transportation links, clay subsoils and overall ability to meet the guidelines.
5. Opponents organize in February 1993 as the Regional Organization of Concerned Citizens Opposed to Landfill and prepare to take legal steps to stop construction of the landfill. In April 1993, the Tippah Board of Supervisors and Walnut Board of Aldermen go on record opposing the site.
6. In June 1993, a public hearing is held on the authority's master plan for solid waste management, which has already received partial approval from state.
7. New guidelines adopted by state and federal governments go into effect Oct. 9, 1993, forcing the closing of most public landfills in the state. Local governments begin hauling waste to commercial landfills which meet federal requirements.
8. In April 1994, the authority gives Tippah County, as host county, special concessions, including tax breaks for property owners near the landfill site and reduced industrial waste-disposal costs.
9. At a public hearing in December 1994, ROCCOL protesters voice opposition to the state issuing operation permits. The group charges the landfill will adversely affect the environment.
10. Construction is expected to get underway in January 1995, but the title to the land is tied up in court. Officials say if funding is secured, construction could begin by late summer 1995, and the landfill could be in operation by the first quarter of 1996.
11. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Permit Board votes Feb. 15, 1995, to issue permits to the authority for a planned regional landfill. The permits are to operate the landfill, to handle storm water runoff and to treat leachate, or water that comes in contact with the waste.
12. The authority acquires land in December 1995, after reaching an out-of-court settlement with the owner, Champion Paper Co. The 288-acre tract, located two miles west of Walnut, was purchased for $600 an acre.
13. Efforts to obtain funding in 1996 failed and lack of funding continues to delay construction of the regional landfill. Applications for loans and grants from the Farmers Home Administration have been denied. The landfill is expected to cost $3.5 million with another $1 million needed for equipment.