GENESEO -- The Henry County Board next week could approve an agreement with a controversial Atkinson landfill seeking expansion.
In a 3-0 vote Monday, the county's recycling committee accepted a host agreement with Atkinson Landfill Co. The full county board is expected to take up the issue during its Oct. 13 meeting.
Atkinson Landfill Co., owned by Branko and Anthony Vardijan of Chicago, plans to expand its 30-acre operation to 140 acres. An Atkinson group -- the Dumpbusters -- has been fighting the landfill's expansion plans.
Henry County requested the host agreement so it can have a voice in any expansion. In turn, the landfill is asking the county board to adopt an ordinance saying the landfill's plans are consistent with the county's solid-waste management plan.
The host agreement gives Henry County 30 days from the time the landfill files applications for expansion with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to approve the plan.
The landfill hasn't filed for IEPA permits yet, but has indicated it plans to file a notice of intent with IEPA within 14 days of a county board decision, said Phillip Kowalski of Engineering Solutions, a consulting firm hired by the county. Henry County's 30-day deadline would be from the time of that intent notice -- not the actual expansion permit filing, he said.
If the county board waits until its November meeting to take up the landfill issue, it could miss the 30-day deadline, Mr. Kowalski said. If the county doesn't meet Atkinson Landfill Co.'s timeline, the firm could say the county failed to live up to the host agreement and abandon its plans for the landfill, he said.
The landfill has delayed filing the necessary paperwork with IEPA four times, he said. Most recently, its management announced it would file the notice of intent in September, but that filing did not take place.
Despite the uncertainties, Mr. Kowalski recommended the adoption of the ordinance stating the firm's expansion plan is consistent with Henry County's solid waste plan.
``It spells out all the things that have to be in the host agreement, which are in the host agreement now,'' he said. ``I think it's fair.''
Both the county and Atkinson will receive host fees from the landfill, which is estimated to remain open 10 years and receive 10 to 15 million tons of garbage. Each local government would receive $1.35 per ton of garbage dumped there.
Mr. Kowalski said he believes that, overall, the latest agreement is better for Henry County. ``It will better enable the landfill to operate competitively with other landfills, ensure the flow of waste and keep host fees coming to the county.''
He said the anyone buying the landfill would have to abide by the host agreement. ``I think they are probably contemplating a sale,'' he said of the Vardijans.
County recycling coordinator Steve Magerkurth said he will have information about the expansion plan, as well as a map of the site, at the Oct. 13 county board meeting.
In other business, Mr. Magerkurth told the committee that Geneseo's departure from the county recycling program will mean a loss of about one-third to one-half the program's overall revenues.