UPDATE: Neighbor reacts to landfill closing

UPDATE POSTED NOVEMBER 9, 2021 AT 10:55 P.M.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – For years, there was a debate in Scott county surrounding the Central Kentucky Landfill. Some neighbors of the landfill complained of the smell and debris and wanted to see the landfill closed. They got what they wanted when the state ordered it to shut down on October 31st because it was out of capacity. But not all of the property owners are happy with that decision.

“The people just have this ‘we don’t want people’s trash in our backyards’ problem, ok? But trash has to be in somebody’s backyard, ok?” says Billy Nelson, adjacent property owner to the landfill. “So now, we’re going to send our trash to somebody else’s backyard.”

The Central Kentucky Landfill in Scott County collected trash from from beyond Scott County, including Fayette County. So what does this mean for trash pickup for every community it served? Right now, the city of Lexington says trash picked up by Waste Services of the Bluegrass is still continuing as normal, but being taken to a landfill 60 miles away in Rowan County.

“Currently, our impact is pretty minimal if at all,” says Nancy Albright, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works. “The only change that we see right now will be if Waste Services requests the price adjustment, but so far taxes won’t change and collection doesn’t change a bit.”

Nelson says it’s a shame to see the landfill closed because of the inconvenience it puts on people getting rid of trash.

“The landfill’s a good neighbor, they’ll do anything for anybody around here,” says Nelson. “Anybody up and down this road can ask them to do anything for them and they’ll do it for them. They’ve done it for me.”

Waste Services filed a petition in court for an emergency injunction to stop the closing, but was denied. Nelson says waste services is appealing.

UPDATE POSTED NOVEMBER 9, 2021 AT 11:39 A.M.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A controversial landfill in Scott County has been ordered to close, according to a report in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman ruled Oct. 29 that Scott County had properly implemented a new solid waste plan that ultimately disallowed all new trash, including out of county trash because the Waste Services of the Bluegrass landfill was out of capacity.

The landfill was at the center of a lot of legal fights stretching back the past few years, including Lexington’s legal fight over the fate of the landfill.

Waste Services filed a petition for an emergency injunction to stop the closing, but Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate denied the injunction in late October.

Fayette County has been taking its trash there since 2015. Now, it’s being diverted to a permitted landfill in the Morehead area, according to Susan Straub with the city of Lexington.

The city’s contract with the company says even if the landfill closes, it still has to take Lexington’s trash.

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED MAY 28, 2021 AT 6:44 P.M.

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A debate that’s been ongoing for years in Scott County could soon reach a tipping point.

The Central Kentucky landfill could close at the end of October unless a judge reverses a decision to reduce its capacity to zero.

“To me, they’re just saying, ‘I don’t care. I just want it to go somewhere else,’” Dana Garcia said. She said she’s lived next to landfill for 18 year and said she only had problems a few years ago, but it was quickly resolved.

“I would just call Chip on the phone and tell him what’s going on,” Garcia said.

Chip Simmons is the regional manager of Waste Services of the Bluegrass.

COO Greg Elkins admitted there were odor and debris issues a few years back because the landfill wasn’t allowed to expand.

“So we had to back up and change plans and go in a direction that we knew wasn’t going to be best practices,” Elkins said.

That direction was up – creating the mountains.

Elkins said he’s taken steps to keep the area clean by installing wheel washers for the dump trucks and paving the exits so no debris gets on the road.

Still, J.R. Williamson, retired waste coordinator for Scott County, said the amount of trash is unacceptable.

“Division of Waste Management thinks that we oughta have regional landfills and I’ve asked the division how big a landfill should be to be reasonable and how many counties it can host,” Williamson said.

He said he specifically doesn’t want Fayette County to be allowed to dump. Williamson said the county has the space it needs and is too large compared to other counties that use the landfill.

“We ought got back to the legislature and make them pass some laws that the larger producing populations ought be required to have their own landfills,” Williamson said.

Williamson and other concerned residents protested the contract renewal between Fayette County and the landfill in 2020.

Elkins said he’s tried to negotiate with county leaders. He said he even offered to pay the difference in property value for nearby homeowner, but he said little progress has been made. Elkins said that’s evident because he said the county decided to reduce the landfill’s capacity to zero the very next day after that conversation.

Now, Elkins said all he can do is wait to see if a judge will reverse the county’s decision to close the landfill. He said the Fayette County Urban County Council is also planning to send a resolution to the state asking for the landfill’s expansion.

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