The longevity of a local landfill may depend on an application filed recently with Chesterfield County.
Shoosmith Bros., Inc. recently filed a permit application with the county that would allow it to use some 180 acres of land which includes a rock quarry that it acquired in 1997. (The quarry itself is 83 acres.)
Fletcher Kelly, Shoosmith Bros., Inc.’s vice president of operations and one of six co-owners, said the business that was opened in 1976 by the Shoosmith Brothers has about seven or eight years of life left.
Although some neighbors have complained about odors and noise associated with the landfill — located west of Lewis Road and south of Route 10 — Kelly said the business has improved in those areas. “Each year we get better as we close parts of the landfill,” he said. “This year, we’re capping 10 acres. We capped 10 acres last year.” Once a portion is done being used, it is covered with a clay and plastic cover and wells are installed to extract methane gas, he said.
In response to complaints, the company hosts meetings with the Shoosmith Community Outreach Group every several months, Kelly said. The meetings are facilitated by the county Planning Department.
Should the company receive county approval, any use of the quarry and surrounding land will be quieter, he said. “We’re moving farther away from populations,” he said, noting the quarry is 200 feet below natural ground and like an “upside-down wedding cake.”
The company has a contract with Vulcan Materials Co. that allows it to mine rock from the quarry, Kelly said. That contract expires in 2025. At that time, Shoosmith Bros., Inc. would start using it as a landfill if the permit is approved.
The company has 38 employees at the Chester site, and there are 250 employees total on the company’s 590 acres, including some from Lee Hy Paving Corp. and Ingenco, the latter which uses methane gas from the site to make electricity that is then sold to Dominion Energy. “I sell gas to them, and they make electricity for 10,000 houses a day,” Kelly said.
He said that the landfill “allows us to have an inexpensive waste disposal. If we have to close in 7 or 8 years, it will take out the biggest landfill in the immediate region and prices will go up.” He explained that trash would likely have to be shipped out of the area if that happens. “It is an important asset to the county and to the residents,” he said, noting that Chesterfield County government brings 2,000 loads of waste a year to the facility.
Kelly explained that the company originally filed an Article VIII application (based on Chapter II, Article VIII of the county code) with the county in 2015, but later withdrew it and filed a lawsuit against the county. The company does not believe that it has to ask the county for permission to use the quarry and surrounding land, Kelly said, because it received state approval to do so two years ago. However, the company has filed the application because it was required to do so by a circuit court judge.
If the application is approved, Kelly estimates that the landfill could remain open until 2040.
A hearing on the issue is scheduled before the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors on July 25.
Editor’s note – Additional owners of the company include: Larry McGee, Fred Nichols, Kent Durham, John Collins and the Gene Orcutt Family.