RUSTBURG — Amid a chorus of complaints from neighbors and attention during this year’s General Assembly session, the Region 2000 Services Authority passed a key benchmark Monday in its promise to address the stench emanating from the regional landfill in Campbell County.
Dozens of residents turned out for a specially called public hearing about a nearly $1 million plan to install a gas collection system at the Livestock Road facility to mitigate odor.
The authority wants to fast-track the initiative, as allowed under the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, which gives localities and contractors some leeway to partner in construction projects.
The PPEA process would streamline the procurement process for the authority by cutting down on the number of steps it would be required to take.
Lynchburg City Manager Kim Payne said compared to the request-for-proposals (RFP) process, the PPEA would cut 6 to 9 months off the timeline.
“I appreciate the board is looking at ways to alleviate gasses coming into neighborhoods,” said Jon Hardie, president of the Landfill Citizens Group, which was formed last fall to give a unified voice to neighbors of the landfill.
Authority members also heard comment on the sole proposal received by the March 21 deadline for the system’s design and construction, from SCS Engineers, which has previously done some work at the landfill and is based in Midlothian.
SCS Engineers is familiar with the landfill. It installed a pilot gas collection system last summer on a much smaller scale than the one to be installed.
It also will install a system in June that includes an odor-neutralizing vapor and a misting cannon.
Hardie said if the authority wants to be a “national leader” in alleviating odor from the landfill, it should be pursuing leading companies nationwide that specialize in this type of work. Hardie said he was disappointed only one bid was received.
A General Assembly subcommittee tabled legislation carried by Del. Matt Fariss, R-Campbell County and written in consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality. The bill would require this landfill and others similar to it to install gas collection and control systems by July 1, 2018.
"We indicated we would get the system installed by the end of the year, calendar year," Authority Attorney Bill Hefty said at the meeting.
Payne said after the meeting, the hope is most of the system will be installed by the end of the year. The system will be installed in stages.
The landfill gas system is estimated to cost $908,000 to be paid for with bonds issued by the authority.
It will vote on the proposal from SCS at its April 27 meeting.
The authority also discussed a property value protection program for homeowners near the landfill.
Hefty said the program is modeled after the Roanoke Valley Regional Authority Property Value Protection Program.
The idea is if a homeowner is in the process of selling a house, they can have it appraised and may be paid the difference between appraisal value and the selling price — up to $50,000.
The money would only be paid after the house sells and the program would end two years after the landfill on Livestock Road closes permanently.
A homeowner could only participate once and a payout would be based on if money is available, Hefty said.
Based on another suggestion from the public, the authority discussed inviting a citizen representative to participate in the services authority’s meetings.
“I think we’ve done a good job of receiving input … having someone at the table sets a different tone,” said Campbell County Administrator Frank Rogers.
The person would be considered a liaison and not have voting rights.
“There is a deep desire for citizens to be more involved in your planning process,” Hardie said. “I am all for the idea of information being shared through liaison.”