Despite an environmental group’s contention that a proposed coal ash landfill would violate local regulations, Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer sent a letter to a state agency this month saying the project would be in compliance.
The Labadie Environmental Organization has filed an appeal with the Franklin County Board of Zoning Adjustment arguing that the landfill would violate the county’s land-use regulations.
The proposed landfill is not 2 feet above the natural water table as required by Franklin County Land Use Regulations the appeal alleges. State law requires that the landfill meet local zoning codes, LEO charges in its complaint.
Franklin County Environmental Resources Officer Joe Feldmann said the landfill design has not been changed to address LEO’s concerns. He said the county believes the group’s complaint is unsubstantiated and that engineers are prepared to defend the landfill design.
But LEO’s appeal asserts that county Planning Director Scottie Eagan’s determination that the landfill would comply with local regulations is “erroneous.”
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources in February sent a letter to Griesheimer asking him to confirm whether the proposed landfill was in compliance with local zoning regulations.
Prior to construction on the landfill beginning, there must be verification that the project would comply with local codes, the DNR letter added.
In his March 4 response to DNR, Griesheimer states that the county building and health departments “concur that the application currently complies with our codes and orders.”
Griesheimer’s letter adds, “Our planning and zoning department head has confirmed to me that the proposed landfill is a permitted use on the property subject to compliance with all county, state and federal regulations regarding utility waste landfills.”
Moreover, Griesheimer states that the environmental resources and independent engineers at Andrews Engineering also agree that the proposed landfill is in compliance with local zoning regulations.
Ameren plans to build the landfill adjacent to its Labadie Energy Center to store ash that is the byproduct of burning coal to generate electricity.
The Franklin County Board of Zoning Adjustment is scheduled to hear LEO’s appeal April 22.
But prior to that hearing, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public hearing on the draft solid waste area construction permit April 8 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Washington from 7 to 9 p.m.
Schuba said the DNR should not issue a construction permit until the appeal before the board of zoning adjustment is resolved.
LEO will probably alert DNR about the pending appeal, Schuba added.
The county board of zoning adjustment was scheduled to hear the appeal last month, but the board pushed the hearing date back to April 22 to work out some procedural matters.
The parties involved in appeal include Franklin County, Ameren and LEO.
The proposed landfill site would be 813 acres, but the actual disposal area would be only 166.5 acres.
Ameren officials have previously said they want the landfill operational by April of 2016 and hope that it will provide enough storage space for 24 years. The landfill would be built in several phases with Phase 1 costing $27 million, the company has said.