Town and landfill finally agree
© Prince William Times / Feb. 10, 2016The Dumfries Town Council agreed with a vote of 6-1 to close the local landfill.
Councilwoman Helen Reynold was the lone nay vote on Feb. 2.
Mayor Gerald Foreman, Vice Mayor Willie Toney, Councilman Charles Brewers, Councilman William Murphy, Councilwoman Gwen Washington, and Councilman Derrick Wood all voted yes.
“To me, this is a historic event,” Foreman said. “It finally puts a closure date on the landfill which is what the landfill wants and what the town wants."
Residents have years to get used to the idea. The Potomac Landfill could continue until Feb. 2, 2032.
“This is a really big deal for the Town of Dumfries,” Brewers said.
“This is certainly a win-win situation for the residents and business of the Town of Dumfries, as well as Potomac Landfill,” said Daniel Taber, the town manager.
“I’m excited that we came to an agreement for closure,” said Wood, who hopes that the citizens of Dumfries will be as excited as he is.
Potomac Recycling, owner and operator of the Potomac Landfill, and the Town of Dumfries have been at odds since the 1980’s when the landfill opened as a to repository for tree debris.
“Over time there was a desire to go and accept landfill construction debris,” Taber said.
Potomac Landfill and Dumfries squared off in 1987 over a conditional use permit which would have allowed Potomac Landfill to begin offering recycling.
When the two couldn’t come to an agreement, Dumfries filed a lawsuit.
A Prince William County circuit court judge issued a stipulation order that laid out what could and could not be done on landfill property. It also capped the height of the debris pile at the landfill at 195 feet.
Currently the debris pile stands at 235 feet, 40 feet higher than the stipulation order allows.
Up until Feb. 2, the stipulation order, which did not include a closing date, was the guiding document for the town and Potomac Landfill.
In November 2014, Phil Peet, the president of Potomac Recycling, approached the town council about an expansion.
“It all revolved around the fact that the Lorton Construction Landfill in Fairfax will be closing in December 2018,” Peet said.
The Lorton Landfill is the only other landfill in the area that accepts debris from construction projects.
Peet wanted a closing date of 20 years in return for a height increase to 250 feet.
“The final agreement that was just signed has a guaranteed closing date of 16 years from the day it was signed,” Taber said.
Potomac Landfill must close by Feb. 2, 2032 according to the agreement between town the town and Potomac Recycling.
Potomac Recycling will reimburse the town for legal fees incurred during the process according to the agreement. The landfill must also pay a host fee to the town for every ton of debris that is dumped. The estimated fees amount to approximately $3.9-4 million according to, according to Taber.
The Town of Dumfries may dump construction debris at no cost. If the landfill doesn’t pay the estimated amount by the closing date in 2032, the landfill is required to pay $1 million to the town.
Potomac Recycling is also responsible for any damages to the environment, not the Town of Dumfries, Taber said.
Upon the closing, the owners of the landfill has agreed to contribute $50,000 for a land use study. There is no specific plan for the land at this time. Even though the closure is 16 years away, people are already coming up with ideas according to Brewers.
“More than likely it will probably be turned into a park are or something of that nature,” Brewers said.