- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RICHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A company wants to buy a Genesee County landfill and possibly mine it for buried recyclables in an operation that would be unique in Michigan, state officials said.

Clarkston-based TerRenova offered $1 million for the shuttered Richfield Landfill in Richfield Township, about 50 miles northwest of Detroit, The Flint Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1doYax5 )

The state Department of Environmental Quality said the proposed mining hasn’t been detailed in writing but has been discussed in meetings with TerRenova. The DEQ said TerRenova also is considering a waste-to-energy operation on the 272-acre property.

“We have discussed mining but we have so few details … We’re awaiting additional information from TerRenova,” said Carrie Hardigan, an enforcement specialist for the Michigan DEQ. “Their interest is to see if they can reclaim any materials of value.”

TerRenova has been negotiating with a U.S. Bankruptcy Court trustee to buy the landfill, which is an unsold asset of another business. TerRenova last month applied for a license to operate the landfill and DEQ officials say the application is under review.

Discussion of the plans has prompted worries among area residents and township officials concerned about the possible effects of disturbing waste at the property on area waterways, including Holloway Reservoir, Buttercup Beach, and the Flint River.

“We want to put up some caution signs and say, ‘Let’s proceed real slowly with this,’” said Julie Brandon, vice president of the Holloway Lake Association.

Plans call for reopening the landfill afresh for garbage and doing mining “during lulls” in planned sorting of fresh incoming garbage, said Richfield Township Supervisor Joe Madore. He sent a letter to area residents last month discussing questions about the proposal.

Margie Ring, state solid waste engineering coordinator, said a consent agreement likely would be reached to spell out conditions for operating. Requirements for controlling odor and dust as well as management of waste on site would be included, she said.

“Our regulations don’t address mining of landfills,” Ring said.

If plans for the landfill don’t move forward, the DEQ said it’s prepared to move ahead with a closure plan for the landfill, a process that has already started. The $4.4 million cost would be paid for from a fund that was built up by former operators of the landfill.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, https://www.mlive.com/flint

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