Friday, April 28, 2006

Keep Safe Waste Disposal in This Community

We are all creators of waste. Waste is created even in the materials we recycle such as the chemicals used to make paper reusable and the chemicals used to recycle metals. Ways have not yet been developed nor maybe never will be developed, to recycle all created wastes. Even compost and manure give off certain gases such as methane. Safe disposal landfills must be created to handle dangerous wastes that can be captured and stored forever. Much of the waste we create is hauled away in garbage trucks every day and the majority of this waste is disposed without treatment in the Peoria City/County Landfill near Edwards. Much waste becomes toxic if not properly treated and isolated from contact with the public. Peoria City/County Landfill (I am a member of the Peoria/City Landfill Committee) so I can speak with some experience on the disposals of wastes, handles mainly organic waste along with whatever else someone wants to dispose or hide in their garbage such as discarded medicines, arsenic, rat and mole poisons, pesticides, paint, lead, mercury, batteries, shoe polish, or other toxic materials that are not thoroughly inspected or treated before disposal.

For 27 years this community has been fortunate to have a company that accepts other wastes that cannot be disposed by law in regular polluted landfills, mainly solid metallic wastes. This company is Peoria Disposal Company who by law can only accept wastes that meets the standards of acceptance by not only Peoria Disposal Company but by all governmental environmental regulatory bodies. PDC has been a steward of the land for over 27 years in their solid wastage landfill off Rt. 8 near Pottstown. PDC, a local family owned and operated business has gone quietly about their business doing exactly what they are asking county board members to allow them to continue doing for the next 15 years. PDC has not been cited for any violations for the past 12 years. By contrast, the City/County Landfill which is no comparison to the clean PDC Landfill was just issued a warning for blowing paper. There is nothing blowing from PDC, the landfill is buffered by its own expanse of 300 acres. No methane gas, no sea gulls, no blowing paper. When the waste comes in by enclosed truck to PDC, it is tested to meet all Illinois Environmental Agency laws, treated, and where required, mixed with Portland cement, spread, compacted and eventually covered. Liquids that come from precipitation and drainage from the buried hazardous waste are siphoned off thru a series of internal piping called “leaching”, this water is treated and accepted by the Greater Peoria Sanitary District where it is again cleansed and channeled into the Illinois River.

That PDC does accept waste from others beside Caterpillar, Keystone, Ameren/Cilco and others is a tribute to the safety of this landfill now seeking to expand on existing landfill plus an additional 8 acres already owned by PDC. Many companies in the area ship other types of waste not accepted in Peoria County to landfills and incinerators in different states. Hospital waste is a good example.

When PDC submitted a request to expand their present 27 year old site, information was submitted to the public allowing public attendance and testimony. The County Board Chairman created a siting committee to listen to 6 days of testimony and cross-examination. Peoria County Staff and county screened and hired expert environmental engineers also listened to all testimony and submitted questions to our special hired outside attorney. After thorough examination, all Peoria County Staff and county hired engineers and outside attorney, agreed that PDC had met all nine criteria required to have the expansion sited. The recommendation to approve 15 more years of receiving, treating and burying of toxic waste came with approximately 30 additional “Special Criteria” including 3 more testing wells for water monitoring and millions of dollars set aside in a county controlled growing perpetual maintenance trust fund. Four of the seven of us on the siting committee agreed. We heard and/or read all the testimony submitted (2257 pages of testimony and cross-examination) submitted over a 6 day period. (This testimony is available for your review on www.peoriacounty.org or a synopsis on http://widmer-peoria-watch.blogspot.com

Three county board members not on the siting committee also voted to accept the recommendations of Peoria County Staff and expert opinion. There was a question whether the head of the County Health Department who was part of staff making the recommendation that all criteria had been met, agreed. On April 27, I received an email from Ms. Parker stating “I too, after listening to the testimonies and reading the material, thought the expansion with the perpetual care fund would be a safe choice of the county.”

The testimony of Dr. Zwicky and Dr. Vidal was correct in that the materials accepted by PDC are toxic. That’s the reason they are treated to become hazardous waste, mixed with Portland cement, it is a finer grade, and buried to set forever in a relatively dry tomb. (Expert testimony states that after 8-10 years any liquids will have been “leachated” from the site.) In sworn testimony neither Dr. Zwicky nor Dr. Vidal had no knowledge of what PDC does or had ever visited the site.

PDC accepts tours by appointment. The property is strictly guarded to prevent any types of intrusion or vandalism

PDC has made every effort to be good stewards of hazardous waste. PDC has now agreed not to build on Disposal trench C-1 and leave it permanently covered. This means all expansion will take place 375 feet further away from any residential area and the new location will be barely visible if at all to the home owners in the area.

Passionate environmentalist Tom Edwards testified “No C/of/C would recommend businesses to move into this community.” On April 13, all board members received a letter from the Peoria Area Camber of Commerce, a company of the Heartland Partnership, stating “The Chamber of Commerce remains in favor of the expansion.” Most of the major leading economic development supporters, including The Heartland Partnership, the Economic Development Council, and the Greater Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce all have expressed their support of expansion. I have learned that the Civic Federation Executive Board has recommended to their membership that a yes vote would be best for the community.

There is a building fear in Peoria that over zealous though well meaning environmentalists will indeed drive reputable businesses out of the community and cause any company that produces toxic wastes from joining our business community. Homespun Tom Edwards appears to be looking for the national spotlight in his efforts to close down landfills. On April 13, 2006 speaking before the full County Board, Mr. Edwards said "I think (the no vote) was a historic decision and it is going to be nationally important." When asked what to do with wastes, Tom says "recycle". In a perfect workl]ld that might be done. Common sense says we will be seeking ways to recycle and dispose for decades.

Only two people from the Peoria City Council, one was Gary Sandberg, have spoken against the expansion. Neither one knew exactly how PDC handles and buries hazardous waste nor did they listen to any expert testimony. Mayor Ardis gave his early on support as did PPD Superintendent Bonnie Noble and board member Stan Budinzski who lives on the west side of peoria.

The poisonous atmosphere created in Peoria comes from the word “toxic” and water supply endangerment. The oppositions own expert testified under oath as follows: Question to Mr. Norris; “Now Mr. Norris, in Central Illinois where we have glacial tills overlying a shallow aquifer, would the Sankoty aquifer be reasonably described as such? Answer: As a shallow aquifer? Yes. Answer by Mr. Norris, Yes, I think so.” Mr. Norris continued “there are man made chemicals in the aquifer, we do not know of certainty where they came from.” It is through multiple layers of protection from this shallow aquifer that prompted expert testimony to believe that any wastes that could enter the water supply would be minor and spread over a large area.

The old barrels trenches are not part of this expansion nor is any expansion allowed over them. For the sake of this community, keep this family owned local, environmentally concerned company with their trained laboratory and disposal crews in this community in event of any unlikely (expert testimony) future problems and with enough money to take care of them without taxpayer involvement.

With the help of all county board members, staff, outside legal council county hired environmental engineering firm and the concerned citizens of the area, PDC has agreed to accept all roughly 30 “Special Criteria” added to their Siting Application including additional air and water monitoring, the right of the county to do our own testing, the right to approve or deny acceptance of different types of waste, the perpetual maintenance fund growing to($8,000,000,000.00 after 150 years, not being able to sell the business without county approval and not adding to the closed C-1 site.

This community should not want to drive this successful business out of our county over speculations and unfair comparisons to Love Canal, chemical landfills in New Jersey and some organic and chemical landfills Europe.

13 comments:

B. Rirley Critz, III said...

And still, after a ream's worth of typing, Merle has yet to post any recital of a presentation to the board on the REQUIREMENT (by statute) that the expansion meet the needs of the community. Sorry, Merle, it doesn't satisfy. Cite the evidence presented, please. Keeping PDC's profit stram going just is not enough when the present site, prudently managed, could handle OUR waste for centuries.

The emperor still wears no clothes.

Anonymous said...

Your reference, I believe, is the requirement that "The facility meets the needs of the area it is intended to serve;". After reviewing expert testimony, the entire PDC application and all hearing transcripts, my interpretation is PDC has based this on servicing customers from a 10 state service area. You may want to review, thoroughly, the expert testimony provided by Sheryl Smith that was provided under oath and subjected to cross examination. What you, in fact, have failed to realize and accept, is this facility has been nationally recognized for more than 12 years for environmental excellence. This facility provides the safe management and disposal of non-recyclable waste material (dust, soil, etc.) from industrial accounts, such as steel mills, manufacturers, etc., i.e. companies that produce very specific types of solid waste materials - EPA classified as K061, F006 and D008 wastes (again review the application). These waste materials cannot be placed in municipal landfills due to it's chemical composition. Thus, there are strict EPA regulations which mandate facilities to send this material to permitted facilities for treatment and subsequent disposal. These businesses, such as Caterpillar, Keystone, Ameren CILCO, and numerous others outside the county need a facility designated as such for their waste disposal needs - because there is no other facility in their region with such high standards!

In regards to the area intended to serve, like Caterpillar, this facility is the best in the industry. Try telling Caterpillar they can only serve Peoria. Try telling OSF, Keystone, doctors, Wal Mart, lawyers, restaurants, car dealerships, grocery stores, etc. they can ONLY serve Peoria. The "area intended to serve" is determined by a business, not the government. Jurisdictions and boundaries apply to government bodies, public schools, postal areas and such, not private business. Should your view apply, you would quickly see a rapid decay in business if you applied your weak philosophy.

This facility serves 10 states because these industries are in search of the best facility in their region to meet their waste disposal needs. Again, read the testimony. Review the 6 days of hearings. If this is your only concern, please lay it to rest. This nationally-recognized Pollution Control Facility provides top notch service to customers in search the best environmetal provider they can find in their area. In my determination and the County Staff's determination, PDC has provided the necessary facts and data...and HAS satisfied this criteria.

B. Ridley Critz, III said...

Anonymous: Yep, that is the requirement. However, unlike many businesses, PDC's landfill is subject to approval by the county and, thus, becomes a quasi-extension of the county. The SOLE "area" which is subject to the board's governance view is Peoria County. I am unimpressed that Cheryl Smith, in an obvious attempt at an end run, tries to define the "area to be served" as a "service area" including multiple states. Those states are merely a listing of other areas from which PDC has accepted toxic waste in the past. Since when has doing something improper been blessed just because it is a fait accompli?

Thus, in THIS case, and not with respect to all other business, the area (strangely, even you list only businesses needing the service which are in our county) is the county.

Would the facility close completely if the material from other states were barred? I very much doubt it.

Oh, and at leady I am courageous enough to put my postings over my own name!

Anonymous said...

b. rid(r)ley critz, iii:

Very nice response, however the last I checked, Caterpillar and Ameren both have multiple facilities OUTSIDE Peoria County.

I appreciate your comments, however I wonder about you and the general public with your lack of knowledge regarding the PDC facility and the area intended to serve. Maybe you did not read the public comments posted on the Peoria County Board website regarding the numerous businesses OUTSIDE Peoria County that rely on this PDC group to provide such environmentally safe services. Also, I wonder to what extent you read the application. Did you attend the week of hearings?? Are you saying these companies do not meet this criteria? Sure, anyone can send whatever, wherever, but as well as you and I both know, there is and will not be any leniency on transportation costs do to rising fuel prices. Why would these companies outside Peoria County send their waste FARTHER than what may be done currently. You tell me, does this not pose a larger threat to OUR environment? You tell me, is there not waste continuing to be generated by these facilities? You tell me, what is your knowledge that the only area intended to serve be Peoria County and NO outside counties? Review the data, isn't > 80% of waste from outside Peoria County? Is this because the area intended to serve is from outside Peoria? Does Caterpillar sell their services and products only to Peoria (no)? Does OSF with their new $300 M expansion intend to only serve Peoria (no). It seems that PDC has identified their service area, an area that needs this service, and provided the facts and data.

Again, the sub committee was tasked to listen and review the 9 criteria that was provided in expert testimony, under oath. You may feel it was week, however it was testimony provided that revealed that HAZARDOUS WASTE (not Toxic Waste as you so very incorrectly referenced) facilities are dwindling and there are not many remaining to be found, hence there IS a continual need for this PDC Service in these 10 states until better management programs can be researched and instituted to deal differently with these unique wastes. Thus "The facility meets the needs of the area it is intended to serve;".


The County Board has the responsibility to review and judge this information based on the credible evidence provided, and NOT decide based on the ridiculous NIMBY constituents.

Again, if this is your only concern, lay it to rest.

I will remain Anonymously yours...

B. Ridley Critz, III said...

I see that, as well as being afraid to let his or her name be known, "Anonymous" fails to respond to my point.

The "area" as to which the County Board may determine IS precisely Peoria County and no other. It has nothing to do with ten states. That PDC wishes to concern itself with ten states is quite beside the point. If it does, it should operate multiple facilities. ONLY if taking more here makes the costs to our county higher should that be a consideration, otherwise the County Board is concerning itself with the needs of others.

As for NIMBY, nope, that I am not. I welcome our own wastes, and those ARE our concern. I would not foist them off on unwilling others, even if that is currently being done with respect to some.

There may be a lot of NIMBYs in this argument, and I suspect that most of them live outside of Peoria County, in areas PDC has chosen to serve. Let them deal with their own wastes. If there are NIMBYs in this county, so be it. I do not agree with them.

And yes, I have read much of the material on the county's site.

Cheerfully, I again append my name, unafraid to be identified with my views.

Anonymous said...

b. ridley critz, iii:

Allow me to preface this continued discussion with:

"The facility is necessary to accomodate the waste needs of the area it is intended to serve;"

Nowhere is it mentioned that "this area intended to serve" applies ONLY to Peoria County. I thank you for not being a NIMBY constituent, and I only contest you on your statement, and inaccurate conclusion.

Again, PDC defines the service area. It is up to the Board to determine whether they have satisfied this criteria. You have now repeatedly failed to understand that this facility is not one of a LOCAL stature, but a REGIONAL. How can you continually refer inaccurately that this should ONLY apply to Peoria County? The IL Pollution Control Board defines the 9 criteria, and asks local government to base a decision on the facts and data presented meet those 9 criteria. Review their requirements if you like.

Again, you tell me b. ridley critz, iii, where you have extracted your interpretation that this applies ONLY to a LOCAL community. I continue to question your review of the laws, application and testimony.

Anonymously yours and eagerly awaiting your response...

B. Ridley Critz, III said...

Simple, Anonymous.

The Peoria County Board is not empowered to nor factually able to review or approves service to some other area. The statute meant for the facility to serve some area either within or contiguous to the county with respect to which the board govern. Anything else would make the a county board into the Congress of the Uniuted States.

Anonymous said...

b. ridley critz, iii:

I wholeheartedly disagree with you, and you have provided no references to your aforementioned statement.. "The statute meant for the facility to serve some area either within or contiguous to the county with respect to which the board govern.". Your statement is merely an opinion and is regarded as such.

In response to "The Peoria County Board is not empowered to nor factually able to review or approves service to some other area." is incorrect as the Peoria County Pollution Control Site Hearing Committee and Patrick Engineering were tasked to carefully assimilate all facts and expert testimony related to the 9 criteria. The Illinois Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Provisions from IEPA regulations states: "An applicant for local siting approval shall submit sufficient details describing the proposed facility to demonstrate compliance, and local siting approval shall be granted if the proposed facility meets the following criteria:"..."- facility is necessary to accomodate waste needs of area it is intended to serve;"

Contiguous to the county is your misinterpretation. The applicant is required to provide substantially-relevant content to meet this criteria. The preponderance of the evidence supporting this criteria was submitted by PDC. Any way you slice it, PDC defines the area intended to serve...

I thank you for your time and will always remain Anonymously yours.

B. Ridley Critz, III said...

You may believe as you wish, Anonymous, but the county board's jurisdiction only extends to the edges of the county. Thus, the COUNTY or some area within it must be the focus.

Given sufficient time, I suppose I could write a brief on it, but I do have a life other than posting here.

Apparently, by the way, the majority of the board agreed in the earlier vote.

Your opinion or mine? Well, those who know me can judge my abilities to make the case, if need be. Those who know you ... Oh, wait! There aren't any! You carefully made sure of that. Come out from behind the anonymity and I might respect your opinion more. Until you do, it is merely verbiage.

D. Rak said...

As someone who comes to Merle's blog once in a great while, I will admit the comment posting by Mr. Critz and Mr. Anonymous were enlightening. We are three-year transplants from St. Louis, and while those employed and working for a living can't read all 70,000 pages of testimony (jk), I have been intrigued by this debate and your postings. I will say that based on reading your well-intentioned arguments on either side that I side with the anonymous postings b/c the requirements, as stated by both of you, establish that the the Board approves based on criteria. How, why and what wastes (and where) handled by PDC is based on County, EPA, PDC and others approval, so it doesn't matter if the material comes from Guam. If PDC is disposing as required and they're doing it safely, case closed. If they don't, they get slapped with a fine.

I will be honest when I first saw the propaganda signs in the yards I was outraged against it, but the more and more I read into it, the more it seems like Sierra Club militants gone wild.

I am very much for the environment and with our tax base in the city (and County for that matter), it should be a requirement that we recycle all plastics (1-5), glass, cardboard, paper, et al. I refuse to seek out any groups to accomplish this with the City Council b/c I want to do it for the right reasons, not political ones.

Respectfully,

David

Anonymous said...

David,

Very nice comment. My intentions were only to clarify what I strongly believed was to be a misinterpretation. After seeing this story develop late last year, I took interest (for my future's sake) in how this would unveil. I too saw the yard signs and was outraged, however for a different reason.

I am a business owner and it seemed this may smell like a witch hunt against another reputable business. Because of my entrepreneurial spirit within my operations, I gained further interest in following this business story, as I would absolutely HATE to see a campaign like this happen to ANYONE operating (or seeking) a business in the Peoria (Local) area, let alone the region.

I took it upon myself, outside of my business confines, to attend every meeting, to tour the facility, to review the applications and EPA regulations, the public comments, the editorials, etc. to further educate myself on the issues at hand. This, combined with my collegiate studies, was used to form my opinion, which Mr. Critz regards as verbiage based solely on identity...

Peoria is a wonderful city to live in. I, personally, was born and raised in Peoria, was educated outside of Peoria, and returned to reside in the area to raise my family. Peoria continually proclaims they are looking for ways to attract business and residents (there continues to be an emigration of residents into surrounding municipalities), and I too, want to be a part of this, however I begin to wonder of their intentions.

However, getting back to the facts of the matter, PDC is a leader in this business...no different than the OSF's, the Wal-Marts, or Caterpillar's. PDC provides environmetal solutions to businesses that need such service. PDC has been subjected to ridicule (sometimes abusive) in the hazardous waste business they conduct. These are the same services that are nationally recognized for environmental compliance and excellence...10 years straight (or more).

It is appalling that inappropriate statements (Toxic Waste Dump, Toxic Waste Stacks, Toxic Waste blah blah blah) were made initially to create a scare, to form and sway public opinion and create this enormous monster, when this business has operated successfully for what..75 years? Understand the landfill has only operated for ~20 years and people were unaware of it? Maybe, just maybe, PDC was doing their job? They applied technologies that exceeded EPA requirements because they know they are evironmentally responsible for whatever may or may not happen? Why would a company WANT negative publicity via EPA infractions? No one knew the facility existed there.. Is this because PDC originally designed the facility to be compatible with it's surroundings? Maybe I am wrong, but didn't residential growth grow towards the facility?

It seems so much hatred has been presented against this company..for doing the right thing. It truly is disheartening from an entrepreneurial sense. The data has been misinterpreted, similar to statements made by Mr. Critz, and such misrepresentations have been included in this opposition onslaught. I would be very upset if someone were to go through all that trouble to discredit my business, when it has done nothing less but provide excellent service to an area.

I feel mankind should continue to look for better ways of managing our waste, but until technologies are affordably available, the business communities need these facilities.

I enjoyed the exchange with Mr. Critz and the fact is we agreed to disagree. Our country (and county - Mr. Critz) need the checks and balances to make clear and informed decisions based on the facts and data presented under the laws we abide by. I hope the County Board can sift through the data, expert testimony (and cross exam), and application and make a decision based on just that, not heated emotions from either side, or worse yet, politically-based.

Again, my intentions were only to clear the confusion, but sometimes it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Respectfully submitted as
as Mr. Anonymous

Merle Widmer said...

In a letter received yesterday from the Peoria Civic Federation read in part "The majority of our membership that has expressed their opinions believes that the citizens of Peoria County can best be served through the negoitiated compromise between the Peoria County board and PDC for the expansion and continuation of the landfill."

In joining the C of C, the EDC and the Heartland Partnership, the letter signed by the Chairman said "They did not act in a vacuum; they studied, listened and learned and then spoke out in support of the expansion of the facility."

Radical Environmentalist Tom Edwards is quoted as saying in one of his dozens of letters to the Peoria County Board "What Chamber of Commerce would approve this site because it will only drive away business."

I suggest the reverse is true.

Lily said...

Thank you anonymous and B rirley critz III! You expose both sides, with amazing debate tactics! I have to say, I agree with rirley. Thank goodness that it was closed. As Sandra Steingraber said, if we say no here, then all those companies that rely on us will have to turn elsewhere. Suddenly, they will have no where to turn, and will consequently have to adapt, like Europe. Anonymous, don't be so pesimistic; I'm living in a semi-perfect world, and we, with our actions, can only make it better. Don't sit around "In a perfect world"-ing you can create it. Sorry Rirley (nice name btw) if my modest arguing abilities reflects badly on you and what you so rightly believe.