Thursday, October 21, 2021

2 deep water waste wells planned at landfill

Like a good neighbor, Republic Services explained a planned construction project to members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees.

During a study session before the regular meeting Sept. 28, representatives from Carleton Farms, a waste disposal facility located in the township, detailed plans to construct two new deep injection wells to treat and dispose of leachate. Leachate is groundwater that that has percolated through the waste at the facility and leached out some of the constituents.

Currently, the leachate from Carleton Farms is hauled away in trucks and disposed of off-site, an expense managers hope to curtail with the installation of the two wells. Gary McCuistion, director of market planning and development for Republic and Scott Cabauatan spoke to the board members about the planned wells.

The wells, according to McCuistion, could eliminate 15 to 20 trucks on township roads and help better manage the bottom line at Carleton Farms. While the initial expense of drilling the wells, which will be 400 feet thick and 3,827 feet deep, would be “in the tens of millions” the life of the leachate disposal system could be a thousand years.

The Republic officials repeatedly stressed that these are not hazardous waste wells and will dispose only of leachate at Carleton Farms. The wells will not handle waste from any outside source, they told the trustees.

The wells will be constantly monitored and will have redundant inspection systems to ensure safety, McCuistion said.

Ken Cooper an engineer with PetroTech explained that the benefit to the residents of Sumpter would be keeping the trucks off the local streets and minimizing the carbon footprint and allowing Carleton Farms to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

“This will help us manage our bottom line,” he said. “This is not a cost reduction for us. It is an environmentally sound way to dispose of the leachate.”

McCuistion added that the wells are a “viable option to keep the operation of the landfill. We don't see a downside.” He added that the project, which the company expects to begin within the next two years, would require some additional employees which could mean jobs in the community.

The representatives repeatedly stressed the safety features and inspections at the county, state and federal level to which the wells would be subjected in addition to the rigid standards of construction of the wells.

The leachate would be pumped deeply enough into the earth to avoid groundwater levels and would not impact the quality of water in the area, the representatives said.

While the township can comment on the planned wells, permits for the construction are granted at the state and federal level. McCuistion said Republic is “about 9 or 10 months” from permit application. 

Republic would be responsible for monitoring the integrity and safety of the wells for several years should the facility be shut down at any time in the future, McCuistion said.