MAYVILLE — Residents hoped to sway a decision to allow the Glacier Ridge landfill to expand on Monday.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing at City Hall for people to provide comment as it moves towards a final decision about the feasibility of a 100-foot vertical expansion of the landfill site, managed by Advanced Disposal south of the city, which will extend the life of the landfill by a few years.
The state already accepted the feasibility report about the expansion, which the city of Mayville officially opposes, last year.
The hearing in the afternoon saw more than two dozen residents from both in and around the city who are concerned about the impact of the landfill on the water and the air, including the odor from the site.
“My quality of life, along with probably every other resident of the city of Mayville, is affected,” said resident Thomas Jacquot. “We can’t hang out our laundry. We can’t sit out in our backyards and enjoy the nice summer breeze. We can’t have picnics because we just can’t stand the stench.”
For its part, Advanced Disposal says that it follows the strict regulations in place and even goes above and beyond to tamp down the landfill’s impact. Officials say they make sure to keep substances from leaking out with liners and control the extraction of gases — even working toward a gas-to-energy facility — and that remaining odor is inevitable.
Advanced also points to its work to build up the natural environment around the site and to deal with Mayville’s old, uncontrolled landfill site that caused contamination, also saying it has worked to reroute trucks around the city.
The city recently reached a settlement with the company about the landfill. The agreement includes continuing discussion about substances entering the environment as leachate, starting an odor management plan with input from the DNR, continuing a $40,000 road impact fee until the landfill closes and a study about reducing truck traffic on John Street. The city withdrew its request for a court-style hearing this week, where the sides would have presented evidence to the DNR about the issue.
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Bob Smith, who is also a member of the Mayville Common Council, said the issue shouldn’t have come to this, with the city spending legal resources, and that there should have been a public hearing to begin with.
Kim Olson, another member of the council, said that she’s not trying to put anyone out of business or a job, but that truck traffic near her home is a serious safety concern for her, whether something falls off the truck or someone gets hit by a vehicle.
“I feel like I live ringside I-94,” she said.
Area resident Bill Lee said he was prepared to continue to fight against the landfill expansion, wondering about the image of TV cameras capturing protesters.
“I’ll take my gloves off,” he said.
Following the hearing Monday, the DNR will make a determination about the landfill expansion within 60 days. Further comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The landfill accepts waste from 12 counties in southeastern Wisconsin.