The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Opinion

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 Madisoncty.com) 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.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Editorial: Health center problem could have been avoided The lives and reputations of three healthcare professionals have been ruined by mismanagement at the Madison County Community Health Center. It could have been avoided.

    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

  • You Said It: About the reservoir, immigration and more on the Wigwam Each Monday, The Herald Bulletin publishes “You Said It,” a compilation of readers’ comments from www.theheraldbulletin.com coupled with responses by the newspaper’s editorial board.

    July 21, 2014

  • underwood mug [Duplicate] [Duplicate] Scott Underwood: Colts camp, 4-H fair demand our attention Late July is a busy, exciting time in Madison County. With the school year approaching fast, folks want to savor the long, hot (well, not so hot lately) days of July.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maureen Hayden: Expiring term heightens the urgency of one lawmaker’s mission State Rep. Rebecca Kubacki may have lost the Republican primary to a Tea Party challenger, but the two-term Republican from Kosciusko County is not going away quietly.

    July 20, 2014

  • Indiana State of State-12 [Duplicate] Editorial: State surplus comes at expense of Hoosiers' well-being If Indiana is taking in $59.8 million less – blamed on declines in revenues from the riverboat gambling tax, inheritance tax and individual income tax – and still is able to save $106.8 million, that extra cash isn’t being plucked from a secret forest of money trees.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0727 - horse and pony - DK - 266 Editorial: 4-H members have goals, dreams

    This week's Madison County 4-H Fair is an opportunity to showcase area youth. They're proud of their work. Their hopeful of their futures. And they're willing to put their goals and dreams in the public eye.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0626 - Shoot - 03 Editorial: License suspension makes sense in Roger Shoot case Some will object when a person accused of a crime is punished by a professional organization before conviction.

    July 17, 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

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Will you be attending Colts camp?

Yes, at least once
Yes, I plan multiple visits
No
     View Results