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LCSWMA Ready to Defend DEP Permit to Vertically Expand Landfill

September 8, 2017 ·

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) announced it will vigorously defend its permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to vertically expand the Frey Farm Landfill in Conestoga. 

LCSWMA’s landfill serves a vital role in Lancaster County’s Integrated System by protecting the safety, health and welfare of the community through environmentally-safe solid waste disposal.  The $56M vertical expansion project will maximize LCSWMA’s current landfill site by using mechanically stabilized earthen berms.  This design limits the height increase to just 50 feet and lateral expansion to only 9-acres.  The result is 6.4 million cubic yards of capacity, enough to serve Lancaster County for the next 18-20 years.  This project also protects local resources by eliminating the need to acquire new land for landfilling purposes.

A small opposition group filed an appeal of the permit to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) on August 24th.  In their appeal, appellants reiterate previous objections raised during the 2.5-year review process with DEP.  These complaints were extensively vetted by DEP, which ultimately determined the public benefits of this project clearly outweigh the potential harms and approved LCSWMA’s permit application.

“LCSWMA is prepared and well-positioned to defend this permit, and will do so jointly with DEP,” says Jim Warner, LCSWMA’s CEO.  “We have every confidence the EHB will affirm DEP’s decision.”

A prominent figure in the opposition group is Jeffrey Koons, a NYC resident and wealthy artist who owns vacation property in York County, directly across from the landfill.  Koons is listed in the appeal under the cover of “Stone Fence Acres, LP” and “Farmland Preservation, LP”.  Through his representing counsel, Koons has expressed displeasure with the aesthetic view of the landfill. 

“It’s unfortunate that Jeffrey Koons considers the view from his property more important than the disposal needs of over 500,000 Lancaster County residents,” says Warner.  “Due to Koons’ visual preference, defending our permit will cost upwards of $1 million of public money.”

LCSWMA underscores the importance of this vertical expansion permit for continuation for Lancaster County’s cost-effective and award-winning Integrated System.  Revocation of the permit would put the entire system, and future of waste management in Lancaster County, at risk.  Such a development could mean a financial impact of $10 million annually, translating into a 30% increase in refuse disposal fees.

While LCSWMA’s Integrated System effectively diverts 96-98% of Lancaster County’s municipal solid waste from the landfill each year, the reality is that not all waste can be reused, recycled or combusted for energy and must be disposed in an environmentally-safe manner.

LCSWMA invested over a decade in planning for a vertical expansion of the Frey Farm Landfill, including extensive environmental and engineering analyses.  The goal was to design a project that provides this much-needed public service (i.e., future landfill capacity), while minimizing its environmental, social and aesthetic impacts. 

LCSWMA likewise attained necessary approvals from the host municipality of Manor Township, including receiving support for the project from the Board of Supervisors.  The Frey Farm Landfill also holds a stellar environmental record, as it’s the only municipal landfill in PA to not receive a violation from DEP in 25 years.

The EHB process begins in October 2017, and could last up to two years.  In the coming weeks, LCSWMA’s Board of Directors will determine whether to begin construction amid the appeal.  Originally, construction was slated to begin this fall, to be ready for waste placement in 2019 when the current landfill capacity ends.

Tags: Frey Farm Landfill

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