To the Editor: Two weeks ago, my husband happened to see a Richmond Times-Dispatch (RTD) article that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)...

To the Editor:
Two weeks ago, my husband happened to see a Richmond Times-Dispatch (RTD) article that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) was having a meeting that night about the Shoosmith landfill on Route 10, expanding into the nearby rock quarry. The meeting was to address how the quarry would be lined to make it usable as a landfill. It’s too bad the DEQ didn’t see fit to send a notice to the surrounding neighborhoods and homeowners associations, so that more people would have attended that meeting.

The few Chesterfield residents who did attended were told that permission had already been granted in 1999 that the rock quarry was “suitable” as a landfill. Even though the meeting was about how to line the quarry to prevent environmental harm to drinking water and streams, most of the residents who spoke shared a number of concerns about the expansion.

Concerns centered around the fact that the area was more rural in 1999, but the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) has continued to approve new subdivisions around the landfill, so much so that according to another RTD article and the 2010 Census, there are now about 15,000 people within three miles of the landfill.

Some of the other concerns:

  • Even more odor from the landfill.
  • More continuing truck traffic.
  • Additional capacity will encourage bringing in waste from other states.
  • Bigger problem with seagulls and vultures.
  • Chesterfield Airport is close by–birds can be a problem to airplanes, too.
  • Some of the landfill monitoring wells with the current Shoosmith landfill have not met spec.
  • We were told that VA DEQ has been unresponsive to the problem.
  • Using a 250’ deep rock quarry for a landfill is somewhat experimental–the Bristol, Va. one is many times smaller than this one.
  • At the public hearing, it was asked how trucks would dump into the 250’ deep quarry. No response was given.
  • The VA DEQ issued three enforcement orders in 2014 on the current Shoosmith landfill.

Currently, the issue is set to be addressed at the September BOS meeting.  If you have concerns, as my husband and I do, about the suitability and safety of an expanded landfill, into a 250’ deep rock quarry, then let your Chesterfield County Supervisors know, and attend any upcoming meetings. There may be an extension on the comment period with the DEQ, but for now it looks like the drop-dead date to stop this is at the September Chesterfield BOS meeting.

Celeste Busby