WILLIAMSON COUNTY - After a long weather-related break, work has resumed on Marion Ridge Landfill.
"We started construction last fall but shut down because of weather," site manager Tom Emling said. "We started back about a week ago. We're building the access road now and once that's completed, we'll start on the infrastructure of the landfill."
The tentative opening date for the landfill is September 2011, he said.
"It takes a long time to build the infrastructure for a landfill," he said. "There's lots of dirt moving, engineering, excavating and surveying that has to be done."
The landfill located north of Illinois Centre mall is intended for demolition and construction waste only, Emling said, and will not accept residential trash or food waste.
Design plans for the landfill have been pre-approved by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Once construction is completed, the IEPA will verify that work was done as planned before issuing an operating permit, Emling said.
The landfill will occupy about 125 acres of the 400-acre site that is bounded on one side by residential development at Kokopelli, Emling said.
While the landfill generated controversy when plans for its construction were first announced, Emling said the initial turmoil has quieted.
Marion Mayor Bob Butler said he has been skeptical of the viability of the project from the beginning, but said if the landfill operates according to its permit, "It shouldn't have much of an adverse impact on the Kokopelli area. I think the Kokopelli residents are stoic about it. Some do not like it, but given what the situation is, it shouldn't be as bad as first thought.
"If indeed it does become a nuisance or intolerable, we will do anything we can to correct it."
Emling said as part of the permitting plan, the landfill will be separated from Kokopelli by a treeline, fence and a grassy knoll.
Landfills, he said, may get a bad rap from the public but are necessary, especially once the planned construction of a destination development in Marion gets underway.
"Construction and demolition landfills are only successful if there is construction and demolition. The STAR (sales tax and revenue) bond district will be a huge source of new development and a landfill is a necessity. We're betting millions that the economy here will support a landfill," he said.