The Georgia-Pacific Big Island Mill in Bedford County. The paper manufacturing plant has its own landfill across the James River in Amherst County. 

A company’s request to expand the Amherst County landfill directly across the James River from its Bedford County location received approval from the county’s board of supervisors during its Aug. 20 meeting.

Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific, which operates a mill in Big Island close to the border of Amherst County, sought a special exception from Amherst supervisors allowing expansion of its solid waste industrial disposal facility. The expansion allows for 27 additional acres. The property is accessed through the company’s Big Island plant over a bridge that crosses the river into Amherst County.

The company’s request came before supervisors exactly 28 years since Amherst County first permitted the landfill Aug. 20, 1991, according to the county. Waste is only allowed from the Big Island mill, no garbage is accepted from outside and the landfill only is operated during the day, according to conditions in the company’s permit.

The entire parcel is 810 acres, according to the company’s application.

Jeremy Bryant, director of community development, said he recently toured the landfill and has no concerns following a recent discussion he had about the facility with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

“It’s well run, well maintained and clean for a landfill,” Bryant said.

A condition in the original permit states the company will only use its own road to haul waste material to the landfill. The board’s unanimous approval included modifying that condition to state it will use its own road “unless temporary access is approved by the zoning administrator for a period not to exceed 30 days at a time.” Virginia routes 130 and 647 are not allowed to be used for waste hauling, according to the county.

The board’s approval also includes a new condition that states “The landfill shall be in compliance with all other applicable local, state or federal requirements, including but not limited to its landfill permits from the Department of Environmental Quality.”

Tim Pierce, environmental health and safety manager at the Big Island plant, said its interest is ensuring enough landfill space is available to serve the paper manufacturing plant.

“The landfill is an important part of our operations,” Pierce said during a public hearing.

No one else spoke against the request or in favor of it during the hearing.

Chairman Jimmy Ayers, who represents the district the private landfill is located in, said he recently visited it and has no issues with the expansion.

“It was very impressive, very clean to be a landfill, very neat,” Ayers said. “They do an excellent job.”

Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

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Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.

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