PLAINFIELD TWP., Pa. - A controversial landfill in Northampton County wants to expand.
The Grand Central Landfill in Pen Argyl submitted a change in zoning application Wednesday night. The company says the issue is their current landfill will be full in 7-8 years as the area population rises. They want to expand across the street.
Grand Central Landfill Spokeswoman Adrienne Fors says only 81 of 325 acres it wants to buy along Pen Argyl Road and across the street from its current site, will be used as a landfill. She says the rest will be a buffer zone and protected wooded and wetlands.
The expansion would allow 20 more years of trash capacity for the company.
However, odors from the landfill have been an issue for some. Plainfield Township said it's had several complaints this past fall from area residents.
In 2018 the Pennsylvania DEP issued several violations to Grand Central for not properly containing the smells.
"I just can't believe they would seek to expand something that they know is already a problem," said Attorney John Kotsatos.
Kotsatos represents several neighbors who filed a civil lawsuit last year against Grand Central because of the smells.
"When odors are very bad they literally can't go outside their home told me wont even allow kids outside, to play in the yards, to barbecue and go in their pool," he added.
Fors blames the wet weather of 2018 as a key reason for the violations as it washed away ground soil used to cover trash.
"The historic rain delayed construction but once we got our gas wells in place the odor went away," she said.
She adds the DEP issues have been corrected and the company is being proactive for the proposed site.
"Once we were able to get ahead of everything we were able to focus in on managing that cover material a little bit better, and now we are in a great situation," Fors said.
The company says they have had several DEP inspections which it passed, are monitored monthly by the township.
This is just starting a years long process, as approvals need to be met on many different levels, including the state DEP.
The company will hold community meetings next month on March 18 and 19. As for the lawsuit, it's ongoing and the company couldn't comment.