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Letter: Landfill may become more than an environmental issue

Published: Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

In 1977, I attended a two-week sales school operated by a large and well-known insurance company at its home offices in Chicago. One of the skills I learned was to always speak of restrictions and exclusions right before speaking of the benefits of a product. This way, the last idea in the customer’s mind was a positive theme, not a negative one.

When the County Board voted to allow the expansion of the DeKalb County Landfill, members knew many people would not like the idea for various reasons. To make it more palatable, they wrapped it with the positive that the monies would go to the new jail, an item that was much more widely accepted as needed. The potential environmental hazards were discussed, but the desire to have the landfill – and the money – overshadowed those concerns.

For example, there were concerns about the potential for the contents of the landfill to contaminate the groundwater supply. This was explained away by the use of a large liner that would protect the water. Basically, something on the caliber of a very large garbage bag will be put into the landfill first to protect against leakage.

However, no contingency plan for failure has been publicized. If a breach occurs, it may be possible for municipalities on the aquifer to mitigate the pollution to their potable water. Rural residents, including our many farm families, will be another issue because it may be the end of their personal wells and water supplies forever.

Now, another thought has arisen. New technology has shown where landfills of this nature may be obsolete within the next 10 years, meaning that even if the courts allow the expansion, the amount of solid waste may decrease along with the monies relied upon to pay for the new jail. That would generate a huge financial crisis for the taxpayers of DeKalb County. In the long run, this entire issue may be both a financial problem as well as an environmental problem.

Samuel-Louis Bandy, Jr.

Candidate, DeKalb County Board, District 9


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