July 18, 2012 - It's been a year since Orion Township looked to have another environmental study and update on the Holcomb Report for the expansion of the Eagle Valley Landfill,
Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel requested the township hire a consultant at the July 2 meeting.
According to Van Tassel, the law firm Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich P.C. just got the information they needed from Waste Management. Van Tassel said she started a year ago trying to hire an environmental consultant on their own, but all the firms that indicated they were interested declined after receiving the Request for Proposal (RFP).
"Other than Tim Carpenter who had worked on the original Holcomb report, but because he is a sole practitioner couldn't meet the insurance requirements. So we said OK let's go a different and let's talk to the attorneys and have the attorneys hire them and that's what's been done," said Van Tassel. "So it's not as if we sat on our hands and did nothing."
This will be the first study on the landfill since 1997. Holcomb Environmental Services of Olivet, Mich., completed the report for the township six years after Waste Management assumed responsibility for its operation.
The Holcomb report outlined concerns with landfill monitoring systems, as well as recommended the township closely monitor Eagle Valley operations moving forward. Its conclusions also questioned the landfill's commitment to providing "comprehensive protection of the environment."
Van Tassel said the concern is for the Landfills original 28 acres.
The original 28 acres does not have the current state of the art type liners. Everything that has been done since then does, but that original 28 acres that was done by Jack Webber. Waste Management bought the problem when they bought from Jack Webber," she said.
You only had clay that was already on the site and they smashed it down and started filling on top of that, so if we're going to have a problem, the problem is going to be in that 28 acres. With the expansion Waste Management wants to go higher. How much weight is that going to put on? How much more potential for a leak? Those are the questions we need answered."
The board voted unanimous to approve retaining the services of SME (Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc.) for a fee of $8,000 to conduct an environmental study.
"There is another quote in here (the memo) that is a little bit less in dollars, but I think what we're doing here is extremely important," said Trustee Neal Porter. "We have spent money with the Rosatti firm and I think we need to back them up. I am in favor of going ahead with this."
Trustee John Steimel agreed it needed to get done, but was surprised how long it took them to get to where they were.
"I am kind of wondering how thorough a new report could be in the short time period we have," he said.
Clerk Penny Shults also voiced her discouragement as well.
"It just seems to me this is just more stuff that gives the pretense and appearance that's something being done, when we're not seeing any results for our efforts," Shults said.
We had an excellent law firm. Charlie Dunn of (Giamarco, Mullins & Horton P.C.) is very well versed in law regarding landfills and I just keep seeing we're hiring more consultants and more consultants, but we're not getting anything back from these consultants. I'm frustrated, at yet another expense and not getting any return on our investment."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.