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King George supervisors give landfill green light to request expansion permit

If the King George Landfill receives permission from the state to build a vertical expansion, King George County would get several financial bonuses from the deal.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors gave the landfill permission to apply for the expansion permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The local board’s approval was the “first step in a long process,” said Scott Thacker, director of Waste Management’s landfill operations in Virginia and Maryland.

As spelled out in the agreement, the county would get $3 million over the course of six years, if the expansion is approved.

In addition, the county would receive $6 for each ton of trash put into the new space. It currently gets $5 per ton, which adds up to more than $6 million per year.

And, the county’s share of gross revenue generated by the sale of methane gas—produced by decomposing trash—would increase from 10 percent to 15 percent per year.

Annually, King George gets between $175,000 and $200,000 from the sale of landfill gases, said Thomas Cue, district manager of the King George Landfill.

“This is a very positive step for the county, if the permit should be approved,” Joe Grzeika, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said on Tuesday. “It puts the county in good financial stead.”

Cue agreed. He said localities that own landfill property, as King George does, typically get a bonus as part of expansion deals.

He said the county could have sought more during negotiations.

“I think they were very fair,” he said.

The landfill opened in 1993 and will reach its capacity in 15 years. When Cue first started talking about an expansion in January 2013, he said there was only one way to go: up.

Cue said he didn’t want operations to get any closer to neighboring subdivisions and that adding another 100 feet to the height of the landfill would give it another 15 years.

Cue also mentioned in 2013 that it takes years to get designs, permits and approval from regulatory agencies for the expansion, so it was time “to get the ball rolling.”

Two months ago, Cue and Thacker gave King George officials a tour of the Atlantic Waste Disposal facility in Sussex County. The landfill there is 300 feet tall, and Waste Management officials wanted King George representatives to see for themselves what the height looked like.

With a vertical expansion, trash isn’t stacked straight up, but is arranged in benches, similar to terraced landscaping.

In previous discussions, landfill officials have said the expansion would cost about $17 million. Waste Management would cover all the construction costs.

The King George supervisors didn’t discuss any details of the landfill agreement Tuesday night during open session.

When they came out of closed session, they unanimously approved the “12th amendment to the second amended and restated agreement” of the landfill agreement, but didn’t mention anything about the vertical expansion of the facility or the financial bonuses that would come with it.

Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425