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Landfill looking alternative to dispose of leachate

December 14, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA -The Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority may be ready to move past a stalled attempt to get a groundwater discharge permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and look at other methods to treat and dispose of the landfill's leachate.

On Friday engineering company Geosyntec gave the landfill board and members of the DEQ a presentation on ways the company can design and construct a system that would allow the landfill to treat and dispose of the leachate entirely on site.

The plan would require the landfill to plant acres of of poplar trees in soil on top of an active area of the landfill. Herwig Goldemund, Senior Scientist for Geosyntec, said the soil will act as a sponge and draw and hold the water, while the trees will act as pumps and draw the leachate into it, where they will use the minerals for its growth. Because the tree garden would be planted on an active cell, any runover in leachate would return into the cell and then ultimately into the lagoons where the process would begin again. Spreading the leachate onto the trees would take place only from April through October, or until the weather reaches near freezing levels. Phil Roycraft, district supervisor for the DEQ, said he liked the plan and told the commissioners it should be a relatively simple process to get the state to approve the process.

"This really should be regulatory light because the leachate is contained, not like a groundwater permit," Roycraft said. "I don't think there would really be a permit needed, just changes to the plans you already have that are approved. I don't really see any significant hurdles."

Roycraft said he was going to contact his supervisors in Lansing to double check on the issue.

In other landfill business, there will be a special meeting on Wednesday to review the 2012 budget and consider fourth quarter adjustments. The commissioners then will consider the 2013 budget and vote to adopt it. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. and is meeting is open to the public and comment is welcome

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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