QC passes resolution against landfill reopening, 2009 memo reveals pattern of high pollutant levels - Mountain Home Observer

The Baxter County Quorum Court unanimously passed a resolution to oppose the reopening of the NABORS landfill in Baxter County.

The resolution, which was passed during the court’s Tuesday session, states that the court opposes the reopening of the landfill due to the potential harm that the landfill could cause to the environment. Vulcanized Natural Rubber

QC passes resolution against landfill reopening, 2009 memo reveals pattern of high pollutant levels - Mountain Home Observer

Negotiations over the sale of the landfill have been going on since at least June between the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District and Illinois-based company Lakeshore Recycling System.

Baxter County Judge Kevin Litty, who said he learned of the sale roughly eight weeks ago, said he initially had no thoughts on the sale, but changed his mind after speaking with members of the community that were opposed to the reopening of the landfill.

Litty asked the court to take up a vote on the resolution after asking for it to be entered into the court’s session. Following the court’s unanimous decision, cheers broke out from the crowd.

During the discussion over the resolution and the landfill, both Dr. Rob Conner, owner of All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, and Steve Blumreich, President of the Friends of the North Fork and White River, gave presentations to the court.

Conner argued that the reopening of the landfill would be a battle that was going to be fought at the state level and in the courts through the Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). ADEQ has recently released a statement that no action to reopen the landfill would be permitted until the public was allowed to voice their concerns to the state.

Blumreich on the other hand, focused more on an October report of the NABORS landfill from Harbor Environmental and Safety on behalf of ADEQ. That report detailed several troubling pollutants at the site that were found to have been leaking into the landfill’s ground water.

As detailed in the report, all results were compared to the U.S. EPA National Primary Drinking Water Regulations – Maximum Containment Levels (MCLs) and the National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations secondary maximum containment levels (SMCLs).

MCLs are legally enforceable standards that were designed to protect public health by limiting the levels of contaminants in drinking water. SMCLs are non-enforceable contaminant levels that cover 15 contaminants. SMCLs were established to give guidelines over aesthetic considerations, such as taste and color, of public drinking water.

A third standard, called Regional Screening Levels (RSLs), are also used in the survey. RSLs were created by the EPA to use in lieu or in addition to of MCLs. They are used for comparison purposes for regional tap water.

The October report states that Sulfate was detected at a concentration of 274 mg/L, which is above the 250 mg/L level for SMCL.

TDS levels, or total dissolved solids, also clocked in above recommended SMCL levels in several testing locations.

Arsenic, which can cause cancer with repeated exposure, was detected in every monitoring well and spring samples at concentrations that exceeded regional standards. Arsenic levels in samples from CAO-1, MW-1, MW-1R, NAB-2, and Spring SP-7 all exceeded the legally enforceable MCL level for arsenic.

Cadmium, another carcinogenic, was found to have exceeded the recommended MCL at MW-509D. Vinyl Chloride also exceeded MCL levels at sites MW-1 and MW-1R.

Arsenic, Cadmium, Colbalt, Iron, Manganese, Thallium, Benzene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, 1,1 dichloroethane, methyl-tert-butyl, and trichloroethene all exceeded RSL levels in certain testing sites.

According to velocity rates for groundwater carrying contaminants like those listed above, groundwater was averaging 1.57 feet of travel per day at Area 1-2 and 2.11 feet per day at Area 1-3.

The alarming levels of pollutants getting into the water supply around NABORS landfill have been well known for some time.

A 2009 memo between ADEQ and a company called Terracon Consultants LLC detailed that ADEQ was informed about significant increases of pollutants being found in water samples at the landfill. Those pollutants including Cadmium, Vinyl Chloride, and more are the very same pollutants that were found to exceed federal levels in the landfill’s October 2022 report.

Another memo from 2008 between ADEQ and the Northwest Arkansas Regional Solid Waste Management District, raised concerns over a blasting plan to increase the size of one of the landfills cells.

That memo noted that ADEQ was concerned over the sites ground stability, and noted that the ground beneath the NABORS landfill contained “voids, fast flowing groundwater during dye testing and nearby large springs.”

The memo goes on to raise concerns over the integrity of the landfills liners, its leachate collection systems, final covers, landfill gas collection systems, surface water controls and other systems required to “protect human health and the environment.”

A signature blasting attempt was also documented in the memo:

“Unwanted fracturing will be contained within a few feet of the signature blast with little to no unwanted fracturing extending below the target elevation” (p. 4 of Signature Blast Blasting Plan, Document 53565). However, during monitoring of the signature blast, a groundwater level decrease of 3.7 feet occurred over a 24 hour period following the blast in well NAB-2 and the water level did not recover.

This drop is significant, started at the time of the blast, and is not a natural groundwater level fluctuation.

Well NAB-2 is located 374 feet from the blast location with a groundwater level of over 60 feet below ground surface. This groundwater level drop indicates that the blast created new or enhanced existing groundwater pathways within the bedrock, deep enough in the subsurface to drain groundwater in this deep well. These results show significant blasting impacts well beyond the “target elevation.”

ADEQ denied the request for blasting at the end of the memo.

Other Baxter County Quorum Court news:

In other court news, the Baxter County Quorum Court passed its annual ordinance to establish the rules and procedures for the court for the rest of the year.

Following that the court passed two ordinances appropriating $36,400 and $60,000 in revenue funds to the Sheriff’s Office. Those funds will go towards paying for liability insurance and new transportation vehicles for the county jail.

The court also approved re-appointing Anita Knack to the Cotter/Gassville Rural Fire Protection District Board, and appointing Edward Holt to the Henderson Fire Protection District Board of Commissioners.

Lastly, a last minute ordinance was accepted and passed to allow Baxter County Treasurer Jenay Mize to hire a temporary worker to cover for Chief Deputy Treasurer Patti Block while she takes an absence to take care of serious health issues.

Mize asked the court and county residents to pray for Block’s health.

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QC passes resolution against landfill reopening, 2009 memo reveals pattern of high pollutant levels - Mountain Home Observer

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