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City hopes landfill test will save $350K

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By Robert Allen

Even a landfill eventually reaches its expiration date. One, past due, was a topic of lengthy discussion at the July 22 Quincy City Commission meeting.
The commissioners considered closing Cell 9 of the Quincy-Byrd landfill. The 5.4-acre cell is one of 11 constituting the entire landfill.
Cell 9 was originally permitted as a Class III landfill, a designation allowing for the dumping of household waste. The cell, however, was never used in this fashion, serving instead as a repository for land clearing-debris or LCD.
According to the city staff’s agenda, the cost of closing this kind of cell would be around $350,000.
Consequently, Bernard Piawah, building and planning director, proposed a plan to pay Trinity Inc., a third party, to investigate the landfill and submit certification to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, confirming the cell was only used to dispose of LCD.
With this corrected designation, the cell could be closed for around $15,000 —including the cost of paying Trinity Inc.
“I just want to make sure that we’re confident that the only thing that’s down there will be tree limbs and leaves,” said Mayor Derrick Elias.
Interim City Manager Mike Wade said he had never seen anything other than yard debris deposited in the cell.
Quincy Commissioner Daniel McMillan wanted to understand the stringency of the investigation — if, for example, uncovering a random Coke can would officially invalidate the city’s claim.  
Piawah said he would be at the site during the investigation, telling McMillan he wouldn’t consider that possibility “a thing of concern.”
 “You all are worried about a Coke can,” said Elias. “I’m thinking about a dryer or a washer.”
Commissioner Mike Brown asked what would happen if the company found household debris.
Wade said Trinity may have to dig more test holes — or the city might have to pay $350,000 to close the cell with its original Class III designation.
Earl Banks, former public works director, stepped forward to speak about the landfill.
“I dug it,” said Banks. “I lined it — and I was with it from the beginning, from the opening of it until when it closed. There are no refrigerators in there, no washing machines in there.”
Commissioner Andy Gay motioned to contract Trinity and pursue Piawah’s plan. Brown seconded the motion; it passed unanimously.