Landfill Regulations Under Review

You may not give your garbage a second thought once you throw it away, but as maybe you should. Your garbage ends up at community landfills where it's dumped into industrial plastic lined pits, known as 'cells' in the landfill business. That's where it's designed to stay. Nacogdoches Public Works Director Wayne Shepherd described, "It's like a big sandwich bag. It's there forever."

That's why landfill laws are so strict. They're in place to protect your health and environment. Landfill developers invest millions of dollars to follow the regs. No wonder that a surge in landfill applications occurred when new landfill rules were proposed. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality met on Wednesday discussing the revisions. They all deal with municipal waste disposal, something the commission has been reviewing for several years. "It takes public notices, public meetings to permit a new site and that's one of the reasons I think that's why the people have applied. They have already gone through a lot of this and they want to go ahead and move forward with it and try to get permitted before new regulations," said Shepherd.

There's debate over the grandfather clause. In the meantime, landfill supervisor Lewis Colston follows the tricks of his trade to extend the life of the Nacogdoches landfill. "The key to landfill life is to get good compaction out of all your sold waste. The compactor usually runs on the garbage all day," explained Colston as huge machinery drove over piles of trash in a cell that was opened last year and will probably serve the city for another 7 to 8 years. The entire facility has another 30 years of service.

For now the new regulations affecting Nacogdoches deal with mainly air emissions of machinery and increased training by landfill workers. Rules that shouldn't be too difficult to follow.