Jackson County Commissioners have approved a three-month extension of a development agreement that allows Waste Management to install one evaporator now as a means of vaporizing the company’s Springhill Landfill leachate, a byproduct created as liquids trickle through a landfill cell and collect at the bottom.
The company is also allowed to add three additional ones in the future.
The evaporator uses heat technology to evaporate the liquid portion of the leachate, leaving only dry byproduct that is then redisposed into the landfill. Waste Management is actively constructing that system now.
The leachate has, to date, then been collected in tanks and taken to waste treatment sites for treatment and disposal.
Noting the expense of this means, the company had initially planned a different alternative: It wanted to install a deep injection well for the ultimate purpose of using the well to send Springhill Landfill leachate underground, but public outcry against that option led to the evaporator solution.
The local NAACP had been a key player in the negotiations back in 2019-20, and Sen. George Gainer spearheaded the discussions. Current Jackson County NAACP President Linda Franklin recently visited the landfill to see for herself the progress that has been made in getting the evaporators installed.
Franklin said she’s happy to report that the company hopes to have it completed by the end of this calendar year, although the extension does give Waste Management until May of 2022 to have it operational.
“It has been a long time coming, with supply-chain delays, but those delays are nearly behind us now,” Franklin said. “Due to the hard work of my predecessor,” former NAACP President Ronstance Pittman, “this solution was reached and it’s my honor to follow through as it is carried out.”
Franklin noted that the initially proposed deep-injection well was of serious concern because of its possible potential to contaminate groundwater, primarily.
The county had previously granted a four-month extension but supply chain issues continued as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.
On Nov. 7, 2019, commissioners had approved a modification to an existing Development Agreement for Waste Management that authorized the installation of the evaporators. On Aug. 24 of 2021, the board approved the first extension of the 24-month construction term it had initially set.