Traffic, odors prompt township action
Sep. 9, 2016 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Northville residents’ concerns about truck traffic, odors and plans to expand a landfill in neighboring Salem Township have prompted the Northville board of trustees to adopt a resolution regarding a proposed new dumping site at the Advanced Disposal-Arbor Hills Landfill.
At a regular meeting of board members last week, trustees voted to approve a four-page resolution of position. The resolution stated the opposition of Northville Township to any expansion or adoption of a new landfill, claiming it would pose long-term environmental risks for both Salem and Northville townships due to inadequate disposal capacity during the next 10 years.
Board members called the proposal for a new landfill “fundamental unfairness at play” and the trustees voted unanimously to accept the resolution addressed to the Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee. The resolution implored the committee members “…not to allow economics to dictate further adverse impacts to the residents of Northville Township.” Trustees said they plan to attend the next meeting of the commission to make their position clear.
“When a community places a landfill within town-mile of a bordering county, there is a fundamental unfairness at play,” reads the resolution.
Salem Township in Washtenaw County borders Northville Township on the east, which is in Oakland County. Arbor Hills Landfill in Oakland County has been located at Six Mile and Napier roads for more than 60 years and has more than 10 years of landfill space remaining before reaching ultimate capacity, according to people familiar with the operations. The landfill is the only source of revenue in Salem Township and subsequently there are no property tax payments required of Salem Township residents.
Northville Township residents have described an odor emanating from the landfill as “poignantly offensive” and their complaints prompted a formal complaint about the smell from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). In April the MDEQ issued a violation notice to Advanced Disposal- Arbor Hills and waste hauler Republic Services for offsite nuisance odor. Both entities respond- ed to the MDEQ violation notices. Republic described the problem as complex in its response and called for better co-operation between the two companies to prevent the odors. Advanced stat- ed Republic is the party responsible for adjusting and improving the system to control odors.
Advanced owners say they are also responding to residents’ concerns and requests from Northville Township officials. Solutions offered include resurfacing Five Mile Road, increasing dust control on dirt roads near the area, and directing trucks to use only a designated route in and out of the landfill to help ease traffic congestion. Five and Six Mile roads are the currently popular routes for haulers coming from the east.
Last week Northville Public Schools Board of Education members also approved a resolution regarding the Advanced Arbor Hills Landfill.
The resolution was addressed to the Solid Waste Planning Committee and cited complaints from parents regarding odors, traffic and noise the Ridge Wood Elementary School which is located a half mile east of the landfill.
“Any expansion or increase in the use, operations of volume of the landfill or any new landfill will exacerbate the problems with odor, traffic and noise at Ridge Wood Elementary School and negatively impact it’s 600 plus students.”
Salem Township Supervisor Gary Whittaker is a member of the township controlled Solid Waste Planning Committee. Whittaker who said he had no knowledge of the Northville School District complaint and resolution, described the odor as “horrible,” adding, how- ever, that it has now subsided. Whittaker said Republic owned the gas well and they have almost fixed the problem. As for the expansion of the landfill, Whittaker said he is neither for nor against it, adding, “I want to know how our people feel. Salem residents can use the landfill free of charge.”
Northville Township Manager Chip Snider described the recent unrest and citizen complaints as “the perfect storm” and said a great portion of the increased truck traffic is due the construction projects on Six Mile Road and the complete re-construction of I-275 between Five Mile Road and I-696. Snider said the majority of the increased truck traffic is headed to a concrete crushing facility in the area of the landfill. Snider admits Northville Township has no enforcement ability over Advanced or its subsidiaries should they decide to proceed and expand. Snider said he feels Advanced is a “company with character, …and they weren’t just going to walk away with this,” referring to their recent withdrawal of the solid waste expansion plan with the Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee.
The landfill consists of two waste collection areas. The first, Arbor Hills East, stopped accepting new waste in 1989 and was certified as closed by the MDEQ in 1990. The second, Arbor Hills West, is active and has been accepting waste since the late 1980s. In 2009 Advanced obtained permission from local Salem Township and Washtenaw County officials to increase the vertical limit of the landfill by 16 stories or 168 feet and to reduce the setback from Six Mile Road for waste placement from 500 feet to 100 feet.