A bi-partisan coalition of leaders in Central Mississippi announced on Thursday opposition to an out-of-state company’s plan to site another landfill in Madison County. Madison County already has two landfills, including one recently expanded, yet the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit board plans to meet on December 10th to consider the proposal to build a third waste dump in Madison County.

Madison County would be the only county in Mississippi with three such landfills.  Opponents from across the political spectrum agree that an unneeded landfill will threaten property values, quality of life and the environment. The proposal comes even as Canton is expanding its current landfill to meet county needs for the next 80 years.

“We don’t need to turn Madison County into the Solid Waste Capital of the South,” said Ron Farris, attorney for Farris Law Group. “Madison County residents don’t need an influx of garbage trucks running up and down our narrow roads, all for someone else’s for-profit enterprise.  This rare coalition of Mississippians across racial, economic and party lines should send a strong message to state permitting officials.”

NCL Waste, LLC, part of an out-of-state conglomerate, is seeking approval from the State to locate a landfill at 2858 North County Line Road near Ridgeland, Mississippi that would take waste from 13 Mississippi counties and potentially more counties and other states over time. The for-profit waste venture, while potentially lucrative for investors, raises an array of concerns for residents of Ridgeland, Madison, Canton and Jackson as well as those in rural areas. 

Among issues, Farris said, are:

Approval of this application would violate Mississippi’s prohibition against locating landfills within one mile of a subdivision containing 20 or more homes.

• Approval of the new dump would broadly impede economic development in Madison County, and would directly impact current efforts of the City of Jackson and the City Ridgeland to enhance roads and growth in the area.

• Approval of the new dump would exacerbate already existing issues with traffic on Mississippi Highway 463, Coker Road, Lake Cavalier Road, North Livingston Road, Green Crossing Road, Rouser Road, Old Agency Road and West County Line Road, several of which traverse the city of Madison and primary Madison County neighborhoods.

• Approval of the new dump would negatively impact water quality, contaminate storm water runoff and ground water and storm drainage systems. Waste water from this new dump would be discharged into “un-named tributaries” of local creeks that flow into the Mississippi River, the Pearl River and other major waterways and carried across the region.

• Approval of the new landfill would negatively impact health and overall quality of life in surrounding communities due to foul odors and methane gas emissions affecting residential areas.

• Approval of the new dump would negatively impact the Natchez Trace Parkway, which has already registered its public opposition to the application with MDEQ, and Tougaloo College and nearby neighborhoods.

“There is clear and unambiguous opposition to the NCL application to build a third dump in Madison County based on a lack of need,” stated Ron Farris, attorney for Farris Law Group. “In addition, approval of this application would violate Mississippi’s prohibition against locating landfills within one mile of a subdivision containing 20 or more homes. We urge the State of Mississippi to reject this unneeded and unwanted additional dump site on the people of Madison County.”

On September 26 at Tougaloo College MDEQ held a public hearing on this application for a new landfill in Madison County. A standing room-only crowd of hundreds attended, and all but two speakers (both employees of NCL Waste) opposed this unprecedented attempt to locate a third waste facility in Southern Madison County. Much of the opposition underscored the fact that Madison County simply does not need or want another landfill to meet the county’s immediate or long-term waste needs.

“It’s understandable that people don’t want it. Have you ever noticed what happens around dumps?  There is odor, pollution, badly damaged roads, lower property values and deteriorated economic opportunities. And this is a lasting legacy for generations to come,” stated former U.S. Senator Trent Lott.  “I know Governor Phil Bryant will not allow this to go unchecked. He cares too much about good policy and leaving the state better than it was when he was first elected.”

In fact, Canton’s 2019 expansion of its landfill will more than meet the needs of Madison County and the surrounding area for the next 80 years, according to experts.

“The City of Jackson opposes this proposed landfill just north of our city,” said Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. “We are concerned about how it would impact our waste water treatment facility and negatively impact Tougaloo and the surrounding neighborhoods. It appears that with the expansion of the Canton landfill, this proposed new landfill is not about need, but about asking MDEQ to put profit of an out-of-state company ahead of the needs of the local community. It’s simply unacceptable, and I urge MDEQ to deny this application on this basis.”

Canton officials agreed.

“The City of Canton has expanded its municipal landfill by 80 acres to meet the needs of Canton and the surrounding area for the next 80 years or longer,” said Canton Mayor William Truly, Jr. “In addition, we are taking the proper legal steps by submitting our application for a permit with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) within the next 60 days.”

Truly added, “It’s worth noting, MDEQ previously approved Canton’s Municipal Solid Waste Plan, which included this 80-acre expansion; therefore, MDEQ is aware that approval of the City’s expansion of its existing landfill will expand the life of the landfill to approximately 80 years.”

Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee said, “Canton’s expansion of its landfill completely undercuts NCL’s claim that Madison County actually needs another dump. MDEQ needs to take the necessary time to sort out the facts before allowing an out-of-state company to bring the legacy of a trash dump to another part of our county.”

Madison County Board of Supervisors President Trey Baxter also raised concerns. “I am skeptical a third landfill is in Madison County’s best interest or that the long-term impact of this location has truly been evaluated,” said Baxter. “With more capacity being added in the Canton landfill, I urge MDEQ to postpone what seems to be a hurried process in order to fully explore whether this is necessary.”

Ridgeland Alderman D.I. Smith agreed. “I am opposed to the addition of another landfill to Madison County and am especially opposed to NCL’s permit application requesting a 250-foot setback from the disposal area to adjacent property lines,” added D.I. Smith, Alderman-at-Large for the City of Ridgeland. “In addition, the road network is inadequate for a regional landfill. The existing and proposed landfills are not directly accessible from area highways, but are located off much less capable two-lane roads North County Line Road and even narrower and less capable “collector” roads such as Greens Crossing. These smaller, less capable roads are dangerous with daily use by hundreds of large garbage trucks and practically impossible to maintain. The associated trash and debris from the huge garbage trucks is continuous and adversely impacts property values along these streets.”