Neighbors worry landfill expansion could mean 'skyscraper made of trash'




Posted on October 25, 2012 at 10:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 25 at 11:26 PM

LEWISVILLE -- Right now, it looks like a hill. It just blends in with its surroundings.

But it is the Camelot Landfill. It's a dump, owned by the city of Farmers Branch. It is located in the City of Lewisville. And the houses that overlook it are in Carrollton.

"The premise when we bought here, was the landfill was going to be closing," said Frank Schmaeling, who lives in the Canyon Ridge subdivision, which is part of the Indian Creek Homeowners Association. He is the president.

But the landfill is nearing capacity. It will likely fill up in 16 years. And Farmers Branch is asking for a permit to keep it open and expand it. They're applying for a state permit allowing them to go up 202 feet higher.

"That's 20 stories," Schmaeling said. "That's a sizable increase.

"We understand there's garbage and we have to get rid of it," he continued. "But the last thing we want to do is to have a mountain behind us."

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) said Camelot is currently permitted to reach 523 feet above sea level, which, based on the land it sits on, is about 73 feet above ground level. TCEQ said it's currently near that height.

The permit would allow it to top out at 725 feet above sea level, or 275 feet above ground.

Without the expansion, once Camelot reaches capacity, trash would have to be trucked across the county.

"Which is a hard impact on infrastructure, a hard impact on the environment, a very hard impact on residential garbage collection bills," explained Farmers Branch Spokesman Tom Bryson.

A public meeting Thursday night at a Carrollton high school drew a huge crowd. Homeowners like Schmaeling are not alone in their fight. The cities of Carrollton and Lewisville are considering legal action.

"Our opposition is based on environmental issues," said James Kunke, of the City of Lewisville.

He cited concerns about water contamination in nearby creeks.

"If my fence is falling down on my backyard, I don't respond by adding 200 feet of fence, I fix the problem first, then I add on," Kunke said.

Bryson said the three cities have historically been friendly, and will continue to be. "Good friends can disagree on points," he said.

Kunke agreed. "We'll continue to work together, but you have to stand up for your residents first," he said.