Tontitown landfill can keep expanding during appeals process

Waste Management Ecovista Tontitown Landfill (Google)

A northwest Arkansas landfill can keep expanding while state authorities consider an appeal to block the facility’s growth.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission voted 11-0 on Friday to let the landfill owned by Waste Management near Tontitown open an additional 12 acres (5 hectares) of land for dumping construction and demolition waste.

The commission approved a permit on March 17. Eco-Vista LLC Management, a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management that runs the landfill, said when it applied to expand in 2021 that it was already running out of permitted space for construction and demolition debris.

Nearby residents and the city of Tontitown filed separate appeals. Opponents say the landfill is a nuisance and argue state law requires Tontitown’s support for any expansion. A landfill for household trash is at the same site.

The company asked the commission to lift a construction freeze while the appeal plays out, warning it could run out of space otherwise.

Attorney Michael B. Heister said construction companies would be hurt by having to haul waste farther away and the landfill owners could lose $10,000 a day in revenue.

But Ross Noland, a lawyer for Tontitown, said allowing the company to continue preparing the additional 12 acres would mean “decisions on this would start rolling downhill.”

Charles Moulton, administrative law judge for the commission, said a decision on the appeals should be ready by August.

Waste Management expects to complete the additional space in six to eight weeks, spokeswoman Jennifer McKay said.