89.1 WEMU

Issues Of The Environment: Washtenaw County Updating Its Solid Waste Management Plan

Jul 20, 2016

Landfill
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Washtenaw County has decided that its Solid Waste Management Plan is ready for revision.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair speaks to Washtenaw County environmental services supervisor Jeff Krcmarik about how the plan will change.


Overview

   *   Every county in the state of Michigan is required to have an approved Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) to ensure that adequate disposal capacity exists.  Washtenaw County’s SWMP was last approved in 1999, and the new plan is now in development.

   *   Advanced Disposal, which is contracted to operate the landfill, made a request in 2015 to open the plan for amendment as a first step towards pursuing an expansion at their current landfill site, Arbor Hills in Salem Township.  There has been some pushback to the expansion by neighbors of the landfill who have suffered from odor issues in the past.  Right now, public input about the SWMP is being sought and encouraged by the county, and the final drafts of the plan are expected in Fall of 2016.  The completed plan is expected in summer 2017.

The main purpose of a plan is to make sure we have adequate disposal capacity for any waste generated within the county; to set goals for waste reduction and recycling; and to protect public health.

A county can initiate a plan amendment for any reason.  In our case, Advanced Disposal made a request in 2015 to open the plan for amendment as a first step towards pursuing an expansion at their current landfill site - Arbor Hills in Salem Township.  By opening the plan, Washtenaw County now has an opportunity to update our priorities and goals.  The landscape of waste and recycling has changed dramatically since the current plan was passed in 1999.  As a leader within the state, our plan should reflect the waste diversion and recycling mindset that is prevalent in our community.

Steps in the approval process

   1.  Public comments

   2.  Revisions as necessary

   3.  Approval by SWPC (Solid Waste Planning Committee)

   4.  Approval by BPW (Board of Public Works)

   5.  Approval by BOC (Board of Commissioners)

   6.  Approval by communities - approval needed from 67% of municipalities

   7.  Submittal to MDEQ

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu