More about the monofill

Community members discuss their views on the proposed landfill


Published:

Birchwood Community Council co-chair Jill Crosby listens to comments about the proposed Chugiak monofill at the March 26 council meeting.

MICHAEL DINNEEN

The big topic at the March 26 Birchwood Community Council was Eklutna, Inc.’s presentation.

Or more pointedly, their lack of presentation.

According to council co-chair Jill F. Crosby, Eklutna, Inc. emailed in a cancelation to their presentation the day before the meeting, stating that they were in the process of requesting a postponement of their Anchorage Assembly hearing date on the master plan rezone until August or September.

They also stated that they similarly would like to reschedule the Birchwood Community Council presentation until they had answers to provide community members.

Eklutna, Inc.’s lack of presence didn’t prevent meeting goers from discussing the monofill, though.

The landfill is proposed for a parcel of land adjacent to Loretta French Park.

Eklutna, Inc. is attempting to rezone the land with the intent of creating a landfill.

“It’s very unfortunate that Eklunta, Inc., isn’t here today,” said Maria Rentz, president of the Chugiak Community Council. “It’s been a really long and exhausting process. And apparently, it’s about to get longer.”

The Chugiak Community Council passed a resolution last May to not support the project, which also involves Central Mono Fill and Recycling Services.

The Anchorage Planning & Zoning Commission voted 6-1 against Eklutna, Inc.’s rezone request. The proposal hit the Anchorage Assembly agenda in February, which upheld the Planning & Zoning’s decision.

According to Chugiak Community Council member John Daily, the monofill near the Birchwood airport has been problematic.

Two winters ago, he said, there was a “terrible” odor problem emitting from the monofill.

“It was making us literally sick to our stomachs,” he said.

The odor, he said, was a “sickly sweet type of smell.”

About seven to eight feet of dirt was placed on the top of the landfill to cover the smell, he said.

He worries that the smell may have been hydrogen sulfite.

“The things that were going into the monofill, there is no real control over there,” he said. “The Eklutna people and recycling peple basically said they were going to monitor what’s going in there and take responsibility for that,” he said.

Yet he has his doubts.

“People think that this is all about recycling but it is really all about the money,” he said.

Steve Ellis is worried because the proposed site is near the headwaters of Mink Creek.

“When it rains, the water all runs down to the creek,” he said. “How this will impact wells—the thing is, we don’t know. It’s basically trust that the material down there is safe and will be safe in the future.”

He’s also worried about inert materials leeching into the creek and ground wells.

“I don’t think it’s going to cause anyone if they put their foot into it (the creek), they’ll shrivel up and die. But it can impact the habitat,” he said.

The increased traffic is another concern.

“As a community member living close by, I’m not pleased with the truck traffic I’m going to have to deal with,” he said.

But it’s more than possible traffic and water problems, he said.

“If you put a dump out there it’s going to be hard to get people to sink money in for new businesses out there,” he said.

Scott Gerard, who lives within a one-mile radius of the proposed dump site, is worried about what might happen to property values if the project goes through.

“Think of a prospective buyer looking at your house: Is it going to look attractive? No one wants to live next to a dump,” he said.

He also wonders about leeching and the water system.

“They say the material are inert,” he said. “But we don’t know how it’s (the monofill) is going to affect the wells.”

Sally Tilton feels “violated” by the idea of the proposed monofill.

“Most of the debris in recycling is being generated in Anchorage,” she said. “We’re getting the dump part, the part that is no longer usable.”

The real issue, said Crosby, is that Central Recycling is looking for a cheaper place to dump their recycling.”

“I’m not seeing anything it would provide to the community or good things that might come out of this,” Ellis said. “It’s only a negative.”

The Birchwood Community Council unanimously voted to pass a resolution to support the Chugiak Community Council in its opposition of the Eklutna, Inc. and Central Recycling’s proposed landfill.

Note: There will be public testimony on the proposed landfill at the Anchorage Assembly meeting May 20. For more information visithttp://stopthedumpchugiakalaska.com/

 

Other council business

-The Federal of Community Councils new budget includes money for council mailing and mailbox purposes. Each council can request up to $75.

-The Birchwood Bash plans are underway for a September. The date has yet to be set.

-Birchwood Community Council elections take place this fall and both co-chairs Jill Crosby and Barbara Trost’s terms expire.

“It’s not that we’re absolutely saying no at this point but it has been a lot of stress,” Crosby said.

Add your comment: