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NW Harris County residents voice displeasure with Waste Management's landfill expansion plan

"We've been with this thorn for over 40 years," a neighbor told Waste Management officials.

HOUSTON — On Tuesday, residents and property owners in northwest Harris County’s Carverdale community got a chance to voice their opposition to the proposed expansion of a landfill in their neighborhood.

RELATED: Northwest Harris County residents oppose Waste Management landfill expansion

Waste Management wants to expand the landfill to more than 200 acres and increase the amount of waste it accepts up to 340,000 tons per year.

The residents aren't happy about the proposed expansion and said their community has become the dumping ground for the rest of Harris County.

“In other words, you won’t see the landfill from that location. That white line, as you see, is the highest point it will reach,” a Waste Management official explained.

Engineers explained the details of their plan but residents were not receptive. The company is requesting to run the landfill for the next 46 years and build a mound of waste that rises half as high as the trees.

“As we paint this pretty picture of green space, and as we paint this pretty picture, don’t spit on me and call it rain,” Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D-District139) said.

The Hawthorn Park Landfill currently comprises 171 acres in the mixed industrial-residential area called Carverdale. Only waste from construction may be dumped at the site, like concrete, drywall, dirt, brick, asphalt and wood. No residential trash is allowed.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials said a protective layer beneath the soil protects the groundwater from contamination, and they said another layer may be added.

“We’ve been with this thorn for over 40 years,” one Carverdale resident said. “So let somebody else take the thorn and give us a breath of fresh air.”

For neighbors, the assurances weren’t enough. They said their neighborhood has paid the price since the landfill first arrived in the 1970s, and since then, property values have depreciated.

Waste Management officials said residential homes make up only 11% of the area, most of which they said are commercial or industrial properties. They said the state encourages expanding existing landfills rather than creating more.

The permit has been preliminarily approved by the TCEQ, however, residents could be granted a state administrative hearing which could put the project on hold until a final ruling is made.

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