JOHNSON COUNTY, KS—The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will hold a public hearing on Tuesday about the proposed expansion plan of the Johnson County landfill.
Deffenbaughs expansion plan would increase the landfills disposal capacity more than ten percent. The Johnson County Landfill is expected to reach capacity by or before 2027. While that may seem like a distant deadline, environmental officials say if trash continues to mount at the current rate, the landfill could be full much sooner.
"It's an expansion of air space so it's important to know that it's not really an expansion of geography, it's not going to encroach, it's pretty much right in the middle of the landfill property," said Tom Coffman, Senior Vice President of Deffenbaugh Industries.
Coffman said the proposed area is where the Deffenbaughs old headquarters used to sit. It's since been cleared for solid waste disposal. Deffenbaugh Industries said the proposed expansion would add an extra five to seven years of landfill life.
"The landfill hopes to increase it's disposal capacity from 73 million cubic yards, which includes all disposals since 1978, so it's a lot of disposal capacity to 86 million cubic yards," said Sam Sunderraj, Chief Solid Waste Landfills Unit for The Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
KDHE says since the expansion is so significant, Deffenbaugh had to get the land use approved by the city of Shawnee and Johnson County. Last year Johnson County passed it's 'Pay as you Throw' program, encouraging it's residents to recycle.
"Actually we think that, that's going to pay off and we'll probably end up with air space beyond 2027, if people keep going down the road they've been going," said Coffman.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment say Tuesdays hearing is to inform the public it has reviewed and approved Deffenbaugh's permit and to gather input from residents.
Public comments on the proposed facility will be accepted until January 14 and can be submitted in writing to KDHE, Attention Bureau of Waste Management -Solid Waste Permitting Section, Suite 320, 1000 SW Jackson Street, Topeka, Kansas 66612. The public can also request additional information by contacting Sam Sunderraj, email@example.com or by calling (785) 296-6563.
KDHE said all comments will be addressed before issuing Deffenbaugh Industries permit to expand. The public hearing will be held tonight at the Shawnee Civic Center (13817 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS) at 7 p.m.