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LANDFILL LIKELY FOR PRISTINE AREA: PLANS HATCHED TO STORE COAL ASH, SOLID WASTE AT 300-ACRE DUMP SITE

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By PETER SAWYER

DUFF—George Hyfantis, president of Quantum Environmental and Engineering Services, LLC, spoke with county officials Monday night about the possibility of a 300-acre landfill coming to Westbourne, in the Duff community. Hyfantis works for Ketchen Land Company, Inc. and Davis Creek Energy, LLC, which tentatively plans to build a landfill to store solid waste and industrial coal ash deposits there.
Hyfantis claims the operation will improve stream quality and said Campbell County would collect a host fee from the operations. The landfill is expected to create about 15 jobs.
Still, the prospect was met with skepticism from county leaders.
“I don’t think anybody wants a garbage dump around them,” Commissioner Alvin Evans said.
Hyfantis said he doesn’t know of any houses within view of the landfill’s intended location — which is about 9 miles north of LaFollette, near Westbourne and Cotula roads and Davis Circle.
Hyfantis said it would take two years to launch operations.
In order to build the landfill, Ketchen and Davis Creek must first receive permission from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, which will scrutinize the engineer’s design plans and operational manual before authorizing the landfill.
In June, Davis Creek Energy applied for a permit for a Class 1 landfill — which can hold municipal solid waste and coal combustion products. But Hyfantis said Ketchen and Davis Creek also hope to store ash at the landfill.
“They’re hoping that it’s just ash,” Hyfantis said. “We’re just designing it so it can accept municipal solid waste, too.”
In order to keep ash in the landfill, Davis Creek would have to obtain a permit for a Class 2 landfill — which can hold ash, coal and certain other waste.
Davis Creek Energy applied for a Class 2 landfill permit in 2010, but never pursued it, said Shannon Ashford, of TDEC.
Ash retention facilities do pose risks.
In 2008, there was an ash spill at a Tennessee Valley Authority fossil plant in Roane County. About 1.1 billion gallons of the ash slurry was released, flowing up and down the Clinch and Emory rivers, and covering about 300 acres of land.
Commissioner Bobby White expressed concerns radioactive waste might be stored in the landfill.
“Can you control what type of materials will come in?” White said. “We have a very pristine area. I want it to remain that way.”
Hyfantis said the type of waste that was put in the landfill could be controlled based on acceptance criteria.
Waste could be transported to the landfill by road or by rail, Hyfantis said. Railroads can bring waste from far away.
Commissioner J. L. Davis asked if trash would be brought to Campbell County from other cities — such as New York or Chicago.
And Evans expressed a desire for Campbell County residents to put their waste in the landfill instead of having trash trucked in from far away.
The Press asked its more than 2,400 Facebook fans what they thought about a landfill coming to the county. Their responses were mixed:
“If the revenue is right, bring it on,” posted Scotty Robbins.
“Another case of dumping on that part of the county. Strip mining and clear-cutting of the beautiful mountains. Oil has ruined Davis Creek. I grew up in Cotula and it makes me sick to go back home and see all this,” posted Harry Petree. “Name the fat cat and the politicians that are going to get rich off this project. Put it in downtown LaFollette or by the courthouse in Jacksboro.”
Commissioner Terry Singley asked if there was anything that could be done to stop Davis Creek and Kethen from bringing a landfill to Campbell County.
County Mayor William Baird said the commission had no authority to prevent the landfill operating here.