TCEQ tentatively approves Camelot Landfill expansion

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Trucks unload garbage at the working face of Camelot Landfill. (Photo by Leopold Knopp)

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has tentatively approved the City of Farmers Branch’s application to expand the Camelot Landfill, located within the City of Lewisville, which would add more than 100 acres to the facility and allow it to stand 675 feet above sea level.

The commission will issue the final permit unless a contested hearing or reconsideration is requested by May 4, according to an April 4 letter the Commission sent to interested residents.

The application was approved by Lewisville in October after a four-year long legal struggle between the city and Farmers Branch. That city had wanted to expand the landfill as far back as 2010 but did not want to comply with Lewisville’s new ordinances.

Initially permitted in 1979, the property on which Camelot Landfill rests was not annexed into Lewisville until 1987. Lewisville and Carrollton filed a federal lawsuit over it, and eventually needed help from the state legislature, which passed a law in the last session stating that the city the landfill is in has to consent on an expansion.

In their federal lawsuit, the cities raised concerns about Camelot polluting the Woodbine Aquifer, and those concerns persisted. Farmers Branch agreed in 2015 to install several monitoring wells into the landfill as part of settling that lawsuit. Last October, the wells’ most recent results found 78 parts per billion of a type of dichloroethylene in its most contaminated well, though officials said those numbers were trending downward.

The TCEQ accepted dozens of comments from concerned residents over the approval period, many of which touched on the water issues. The commission published a report summarizing those issues and how the applicant responded, which can be read in full here.

The most heated opposition to the application centered on the landfill’s potential impact on the water supply. Commenters said that existing groundwater contamination should be fully taken care of before granting an expansion and that building up would reduce access to that existing contamination. Others questioned the effectiveness of the monitoring wells. Commenters also objected to the proposed height, saying that the existing landfill is a “unsightly, unattractive, a looming mountain of waste that degrades the aesthetic appeal of area.”

TCEQ responded to these comments by pointing out Farmers Branch’s sterling compliance history report, and also that the applicant is not responsible for the surrounding area’s drinking water standards.

“The requirements regarding the quality and source of water used in the provision of drinking water is outside the scope of the Executive Director’s evaluation of an MSW Application,” the response reads.

The response also states that the application proposes to install 10 new groundwater monitoring wells and that they are already taking corrective action at three monitoring wells. In response to the accusations of it being an eyesore, the applicants noted that the landfill will be covered in grass when it is finished.

The TCEQ letter said that for a citizen to request a contested hearing or a TCEQ reconsideration, they must petition chief clerk Bridget C. Bohac by May 4. The request must demonstrate that you have a legal or economic stake in the matter and that you would be adversely affected by the landfill’s expansion. It can be sent to Bridget C. Bohac at TCEQ, MC-105 P.O. Box 13087 Austin, Texas, 78711–3087 or online at
tceq.texas.gov/goto/comments.

1 COMMENT

  1. Why citizens would be concerned about runoff from a landfill and not be even slightly concerned about sewage treatment plant dumping millions of tons over the last 30 years of industrial, medical, storm, and household sludge that is the results of cleaning sewage disguised as “safe biosolids.” Here are two punch line to this statement:
    1. EPA’s 40 CFR 261.30(d) and 261.33 (4), every US industry connected to a sewer can discharge any amount of hazardous and acute hazardous waste into sewage treatment plants. 400 pollutants seems just a little low when there are over 80,000 chemicals in commerce and growing even today.
    2. When the sewage industry tells you “pre-treatment of these industrial chemical are strictly regulated”, read the EPA’s Office of Inspector General’s Report No.14-P-0363- 09/2014 then tell me which is more dangerous, the landfill or allowing “biosolids” onto farmland?(Just Google the Report Number).
    I know what you are thinking, “There is no way the US EPA, or our own Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would allow such a thing. There are regulations!”
    You should have seen our Government scrambling during the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Just where do you thing the Ebola flushed down those hospital toilets ended up? That right, the sewage treatments plant and then on to local farms and your local rivers.
    I dare you to look into it.

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