ELKINS - Elkins City Council announced Thursday the city has been accepted into the state program that will close and cap the Elkins-Randolph County Landfill, and officials said the benefits of the program will be greater than originally expected.
The state Department of Environmental Protection sent the city a letter of acceptance into the Landfill Closure Assistance Program (LCAP) on July 7.
"The LCAP program has offered to take over the operations, cap and cover, and the long-term maintenance of the landfill," City Operations Manager Bob Pingley said at Thursday's meeting. "It's going to be, it looks like, some immediate relief in the next couple of months, instead of a long way down the road. That's really a blessing."
A resolution passed by City Council Thursday states LCAP will "in the near future" place "an interim soil cap over the whole area, reducing the amount of leachate produced, bringing the wells and well roads into compliance, conducting maintenance activities such as mowing, road maintenance, leachate collection system cleaning... and conducting storm-water outfall monitoring."
"The assumption of these responsiblities of the City by LCAP will significantly reduce the costs and expenses borne by the City for the Landfill since its closure," the resolution states.
City Treasurer Lisa Daniels-Smith said the cap and cover procedure and related initial work is estimated to cost about $270,000 - a price which LCAP will cover.
"So there are a lot of things that the city will be relieved of," Daniels-Smith said. "It will have long-term effects."
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed the "landfill bill" - House Bill 4339 - last month at Elkins City Hall. Del. Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, was the lead sponsor of the bill.
The Landfill Closure Assistance Program (LCAP) was established to help close landfills and was funded by a special revenue of $3.50 per ton imposed upon the disposal of solid waste at any solid waste disposal facility in West Virginia. Elkins missed the deadline to apply for funds to assist with the closure of the landfill, but will be able to apply for these funds with the passage of House Bill 4339.
Other sponsors of the bill were Del. William Hartman, D-Randolph, Del. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, Del. Isaac Sponaugle, D-Pendleton, and Del. Dana Lynch, D-Webster.
Campbell said HB 4339 passed unanimously through the House Judiciary and Financial committees, as well as on the House floor, before going to the Senate Judiciary and Financial committees. The bill passed both Senate committees, but was amended to include a facility in Wayne County. The amended bill passed the House floor with only one delegate voting no, she said.
Campbell said the bill was needed because the deadline for applications for state assistance to close landfills was in 2000, but the city of Elkins did not apply. The Elkins-Randolph County Landfill was closed in September 2011, but the landfill faces about $333,700 in annual operating costs and $262,274 in outstanding debt. The landfill has not generated any revenue since its closure.