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Northwest Harris County residents oppose Waste Management landfill expansion

Neighbors in the Carverdale community said the landfill is a blight and a hazard. Waste Management said their concerns are unfounded.

HOUSTON — Residents and property owners in the Carverdale community in northwest Harris County are trying to fight the expansion of a landfill in their neighborhood.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a public meeting to discuss the permit filed by waste management on Tuesday night.

Waste Management is requesting to operate the landfill for another 46 years.

The landfill has been in the Carverdale community since the 1970s, but the prospect that it might get bigger doesn’t sit well with neighbors who said it has held their community back for decades.

“Ask them why they don’t go build in Scottsdale, Arizona, where they have that big old golf course,” Greater Macedonia Baptist Church pastor Rev. Vincent “Ben” Lewis said.

Residents of Carverdale said they have paid the price for living near a landfill.

“I promise you, if Waste Management was looking to locate a landfill of this proportion or less, near other ZIP codes, that would not be but one conversation before that idea gets terminated,” Bishop James Dixon said.

Waste Management, which owns and operates the 171-acre landfill through a subsidiary, has filed a permit application with the TCEQ to expand the site to more than 200 acres.

According to the application, Waste Management expects the site will accept up to 340,000 tons of waste each year until it reaches capacity in the year 2068.

The only waste that is dumped at the site is from construction. It's mostly concrete, brick, dirt, asphalt and wood. No residential garbage or commercial trash is accepted.

The proposal isn’t sitting well with the approximately 4,000 people who live in the small neighborhood, which is a mix of industrial and residential properties.

“Waste Management or whoever the companies are who are poisoning the land should be held liable and accountable for the sickness and the death that happens to the man,” Dixon said.

A spokesperson for Waste Management said groundwater and air quality samples are tested by a third party multiple times a year, then provided directly to the TCEQ.

She said there have never been any issues and the site’s environmental protection systems meet or exceed rigorous government regulations.

Waste Management sent KHOU 11 the following statement:

“USA Waste of Texas Landfills, Inc. (WM) filed an application with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to extend the life of the Hawthorn Park Landfill. For many years, the Hawthorn Park Landfill has provided construction and demolition (C&D) related waste disposal services to residents, communities, businesses, and contractors in Harris County and surrounding communities. This facility is engineered with environmental protection systems that meet or exceed rigorous government regulations and is subject to highly regulated monitoring and reporting requirements. Systems at Hawthorn Park include an engineered liner and covers and groundwater monitoring.

“Hawthorn Park is not a new landfill. This is an application to expand the current facility that has been in operation for many years, which WM acquired in 1996. Hawthorn Park is a Type IV landfill that accepts construction and demolition (C&D) material. Examples of C&D materials accepted at Hawthorn Park are concrete, brick, dirt, asphalt, wood, drywall, and rock. Hawthorn Park is not a Type I MSW Landfill and does not accept putrescible waste, conditionally exempt small-quantity generator waste, or household waste. The proposed expansion of this facility will remain within the existing site boundary. Hawthorn Park Landfill meets or exceeds the standards for the protection of human health and the environment required by law. The TCEQ is currently reviewing the proposed expansion to ensure it complies with all regulatory requirements.”

Tuesday night’s public meeting will be held at the Sterling Banquet Hall, located at 5475 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. N. at 7 p.m.

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