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Landfill expansion gets development permit

Published: Friday, Sept. 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

CORTLAND – Waste Management’s plan to expand its landfill in DeKalb County has cleared a regulatory hurdle and construction of the expansion is expected to begin next year.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has granted a development permit for the DeKalb County Landfill, which is owned and operated by Waste Management. Construction for the landfill, which is located in the southwest corner of Cortland, is expected to begin in the spring and to be completed by late 2014 or early 2015. 

The expansion would allow the landfill south of Interstate 88 near Cortland to accept as much as 1,800 tons of trash a day from DeKalb, Kane, McHenry and Kendall counties, Waste Management spokeswoman Lisa Disbrow said. The landfill now accepts about 300 tons of trash a day.

“We’re pleased to be moving forward, and we just try to be a great community partner,” Disbrow said.

The entire property is 594 acres, which includes 245 acres for the landfill. Disbrow said the expansion will add 349 acres. 

County Administrator Gary Hanson said the county has a host agreement with Waste Management. They continue to get updates frequently throughout the expansion process, he said. County officials have targeted fees charged to dump trash at the landfill for use in expanding the county jail.

“We’re hopeful the revenues from the landfill will be sufficient to allow use for capital projects,” he said. 

The County Board approved Waste Management’s proposal to expand its landfill in 2010. Legal challenges by a citizens’ group known as “Stop the Mega-Dump,” which claimed that the county’s approval was unfair and not based upon available evidence, ended in May, when the Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

There had been talk of continued legal challenges to the plan, centered around a Cortland Township Board vote to oppose the landfill expansion. However, Disbrow said the company has not received notice of any new legal action.

Although the development permit for the expansion has been approved, Waste Management still will require an operating permit before it can accept trash at the expanded landfill. That permit would allow the landfill to accept municipal solid waste and nonhazardous special waste for disposal.

Disbrow said the permit could be issued around the time construction is completed.

Even though the design of the facility is already planned, Waste Management has not hired contractors for the project. The cost of the expansion was projected to be about $10 million for the first phase of the project, Disbrow said. 

She said the landfill has a yearly cap of 500,000 tons of waste. The landfill currently takes in about 300 tons of waste a day. With the expansion, the landfill could accept an additional 1,500 tons of waste, she said. 

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