The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update


July 5, 2013

Viewpoint: Proposed landfill could affect Mounds Lake Reservoir

ANDERSON, Ind. — The continuing 35-year saga of the proposed Mallard Lake Landfill defies common sense. When I try to explain to out-of-state friends why we have had to fight a proposed landfill for 35 years, they are mystified and puzzled. And the battle still isn’t over.

The death of its original developer, Ralph Reed, did not dampen the possibility of its construction. Out-of-state landfill operators have bankrolled Reed’s many court cases. While I can’t prove this, many local people hold those suspicions. Otherwise, how could a man who declared bankruptcy in 2004 with $7.4 million in debts have afforded two prestigious Indianapolis law firms to fight his legal battles?

So what are the facts and where are we now?

• JM Corporation has a valid permit to build the landfill and could legally begin its construction any time.

• Neither the City of Anderson nor Madison County officials have expressed any intention to use it for local waste. In fact, both the City and County councils have gone on record as opposing its construction.

• Knowledgeable people recognize this is not a "NIMBY" issue. If only residents in close proximity had been fighting the landfill, it would have been built 25-30 years ago.

• The proposed site on County Road 300 North violates FAA regulations because it is less than two miles from the airport. The FAA, however, is powerless to stop it. The FAA opposes landfills close to airports because of the threat of birdstrikes, such as the one that caused the emergency landing of USAirways Flight #1549 in the Hudson River in 2009.

• All required landfill liners eventually leak. Even the most sophisticated liners will break after years of pressure under hundreds of tons of compacted waste. The EPA published this statement in the Federal Register: "A liner is a barrier technology that prevents or greatly restricts migration of liquids into the ground. No liner, however, can keep all liquids out of the ground for all time. Eventually liners will degrade, tear, or crack and will allow liquids to migrate out of the unit."

How does this affect the proposed Mounds Lake Reservoir? While I fully support building this reservoir, many express skepticism over its feasibility. As a conservative, I question whether federal funds should be used for local projects like this. However, it will attract new businesses, high-income residences, and improve economic development and tax revenue for the city. It will also help supply critical water needs for Indianapolis in the next 10 to 30 years. Projected revenue from water utility companies that supply Indianapolis can help in building of the reservoir and funding its ongoing maintenance.

Will the construction of the Mallard Lake Landfill affect the reservoir, too?

It could. This site sits atop a 13-mile wide aquifer, the largest water supply in the county. This aquifer feeds into nearby Killbuck Creek and the two wells that supply Anderson’s water system. Contaminated water running off the dump’s 40-foot peak or through the liner could empty into the city’s water system and the White River.

While this scenario seems like a hypothetical long-range possibility, so is the reservoir. If we’re going to discuss the possibility of a reservoir, let’s discuss the environmental risks. Phase II of the plan includes an environmental impact study. Killbuck Creek and White River meet at a junction west of the reservoir’s dam. Water sold to Indianapolis could come from either inside the reservoir or west of the dam, according to a conversation with Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development. Investment in the reservoir from private and governmental sources could suffer.

There is a solution. County commissioners could choose to enforce Madison County Zoning Ordinance 11.12, which specifies the conditions by which a special use allowance (local permit) must be reconsidered. Many believe that information presented by the developers in the original 1981 hearing contained alleged irregularities. If proven correct, these irregularities could result in the revocation of the local permit.

Please contact County Commissioners Steffanie Owens, John Richwine and Jeff Hardin (see and ask them to enforce Zoning Ordinance 11.12. The county’s future, including the reservoir, depends on the quality of life that you create by helping to end this 35-year nightmare.

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    July 26, 2014

  • Letter: Dr. David and Kay Mares are local treasures Throughout history we have had treasures that were not appreciated until years or centuries after their time. The lost art of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The terra cotta men of China. Vincent Van Gogh was a failing, starving artist in his time. Now his works are some of the world’s most valued. Madison County has a prize of its own that should be recognized in its time.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Reservoir promotion has circus approach P.T. Barnum is starting his tour to promote the reservoir by going to all the towns surrounding the dream. Rob Sparks is this town's P.T. Barnum.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Repentance is key to surviving times What happens to a nation that refuses to repent before God? What happens to a nation that had strong Christian beginnings, but now more closely resembles Sodom and Gomorrah?

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Anderson's annexed areas still lack business On July 10, 2014, at the Anderson City Council meeting, the executor of the estate was shut off from speaking, because she did not live in Adams Township, and the person from Adams Township tried to get up and speak was not allowed to. The council rushed the vote for zoning the land for business.

    July 22, 2014

  • Letter: Birth control, abortion should be woman's choice Why are Republicans so gung-ho on restricting birth control and abortion? That's easy. Republican legislators are so unpopular because they don't legislate and literally block all bills that would help the middle and lower income classes.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bannon, Tom Viewpoint: Paramount is an investment that is paying dividends About 25 years ago the citizens of Anderson made a decision that would have a long lasting impact on the community. Instead of saving the old Paramount Theatre, which had fallen into serious disrepair, it was decided that the easy and prudent decision was to get rid of the building to create additional downtown parking. Shortly after the Paramount came down, the community got rid of another abandoned structure when the old Carnegie Building, which was the former home of the Anderson Public Library, was torn down.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter: Wall Street should not be in politics Talk about corruption, ponzi schemes, we're looking at you, Wall Street, controlling the prices of our food, gasoline and clothing we must buy and about every company in America — while trashing President Obama, the Affordable Health Care Plan, along with every Democrat, to influence our elections, at the same time.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: 23 Relay for Life teams raised $40,000 As chairs of this year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Madison County, we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: Ritz under attack by state education board I attended the Indiana State Board of Education meeting in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 9, and was genuinely disturbed by what I saw.

    July 17, 2014

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