Danville securing permits for purchase of land for yard waste

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Danville securing permits for purchase of land for yard waste

DANVILLE — After investigating various sites over the last few years, Danville city officials have determined that several acres of undeveloped land northeast of the city would be ideal for a new landscape yard-waste facility.

Groundwater monitoring wells have already been installed, and the city has recently applied for a permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and notified neighboring property owners of its intent. Once the IEPA permit has been issued, the city will negotiate a price to buy the 8-10 acres from the property owner, according to Doug Ahrens, public works director for the city. The proposed site, which is a long, triangular plot that's been farmland in the past, is northeast of the city limits at the far east end of the unpaved portion of East Liberty Lane, which is east of Bowman Avenue.

The city has been searching for a new site for processing and recycling of the city's yard-waste material because its current site at the privately owned Brickyard Landfill must be vacated next year so the space can be used by the landfill.

The city has leased that space from the landfill, but this may be the last year for that arrangement as city officials hope to buy the new site by the end of the year and have it operational by spring 2013 when the yard-waste program gets rolling again.

This proposed site is part of a five-year solid-waste plan the city council approved earlier this year that increases residents' monthly garbage fee from the current $18 to $23.50 by the fifth year. The annual yard-waste sticker will increase from $20 to $40 by the fifth year. And even with the additional revenue generated by the increases, cuts were still necessary. The number of solid-waste employees was reduced from 16 to 14 to keep projected expenses within the projected revenue stream.

The five-year plan includes hundreds of thousands of dollars for capital purchases, mostly associated with the yard-waste program, including a new landscape yard-waste site and new equipment to process the yard waste.

Ahrens said the IEPA permit process is up to 90 days, and he anticipates bringing a proposal for the property purchase to the city council in November or December. He said other yard-waste capital equipment purchases may also come before the council in coming months, but maybe not all of what they originally anticipated. He said alternatives to buying a new tub grinder are still being investigated. But city officials are sure about the site.

"It is a desirable site that's in close proximity to the community," said Ahrens, adding that it's a benefit to be as close as possible, because of the fuel costs and time required to transport the daily yard waste to the site as well as additional debris generated when the city has a wind storm.

State regulations require the site to be one-eighth of a mile from any residence, and Ahrens said that made it more difficult to find a good location. He said there were some other sites that would have been closer to the city, including some areas directly north of the public-works facility.

Besides acquiring the permit, Ahrens said, the city would need to do some minor site preparation, including grading and storm-water containment. Bob Scott, service and operations manager for the city, said a detention pond must be created at the down-slope of the compost area to collect runoff, and the bed of the compost area must be wood-chip based. Ahrens said the hope is to have the site open in the spring.

One benefit of leasing from the landfill, Ahrens said, is Brickyard's gate house where personnel monitor traffic in and out of the facility daily and help with some of the transactions at the city's site.

At the new site, Ahrens said, public-works will staff the facility on a limited basis certain days of the week and full-time other days.

Although residents can buy recycled yard-waste material and haul yard waste to the city's site, Ahrens said, there's generally little public traffic at the current site. If that were to change at the new site, public works could change the operating hours, he said, but with the elimination of two full-time employees in the five-year plan, it won't be possible to staff the site full-time.

Ahrens said the city is also working with Newell Township to seal coat the unpaved road that leads to the site to help keep dust in the area to a minimum.

"We want to be a good neighbor and make sure the dust is kept down," Ahrens said referring to the access road as well as the yard waste site.

Ahrens said the city has been in communication with the surrounding residents and property owners, and a public comment period will be scheduled in coming weeks for residents to make any comments on the city's plan.

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