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Peoria Landfill committee begins looking into building Landfill 3, with or without GFL Environmental

Green For Life Environmental Inc., the Canadian waste management firm that bought Peoria Disposal Company last year, has withdrawn its request to delay construction on Peoria City/County Landfill No. 3. The new landfill will be built adjacent to the other two landfills, west of Edwards.
Joe Deacon
The Peoria Landfill Committee is exploring options to restart progress on building Landfill 3 outside of Edwards, while representatives of the contracted operator, GFL Environmental, say they're still amending the permit.

The Peoria City/County Landfill Committee approved steps Wednesday to continue the planning and construction of a new landfill — with or without the company contracted to build it.

The construction of Landfill 3, in rural Peoria County outside of Edwards, has been on hold for a variety of reasons. First, for an investigation into an abandoned mine the Illinois Department of Natural Resources [IDNR] now believes isn’t there. Then, due to a dispute between the landfill committee and the contracted builder and operator, GFL Environmental.

GFL took on the original 2009 agreement when the company acquired the previous holders, Peoria Disposal Company, in 2021.

This is all happening as Landfill 2 rapidly approaches capacity. Original estimates predicted the facility would be full by August of this year; the most recent estimates from operators Waste Management place the end date in December.

However, the landfill committee approved a measure Wednesday to waive a minimum payment requirement for Waste Management in 2025, provided the company begins diverting waste to other locations to extend the life of Landfill 2 well into next year.

Later in the meeting, the committee unanimously approved a bundle of amendments to the original contracting, including tasks for partners Foth Engineering. The three-part motion included:

  • Looking into developing a new transfer site on land owned by the committee
  • Investigating a “piggy-back” temporary reopening plan of a portion of Landfill 1
  • Revisiting the overall permitting process for the construction of Landfill 3

This motion also included an additional $100,000 for Foth Engineering to compensate them for the additional services.

Attorney Brian Meginnes represented GFL Environmental at the meeting, and told the committee the company is waiting for a third party engineering investigation of the suspected mine. Meginnes described the construction permit with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency [IEPA] as “on pause,” pending receipt of the third party report and an amendment of the permit.

Committee chair Stephen Morris took issue with this description, telling Meginnes the committee’s belief is the permit is no longer paused and GFL implemented its own hold on the project.

“It’s been very clear that this is our position,” said Morris. “And if GFL attended these meetings, then they would know.”

After the meeting, Meginnes told WCBU he had no further comment.

WCBU has contacted the IEPA, looking for clarification on the current status of the Landfill 3 permit.

This follows Tuesday’s meeting of the Peoria County Health Committee, where Civil Chief Assistant State's Attorney Jennie Cordis Boswell informed the committee GFL had been served a breach of contract notice, with a limited amount of time to respond before the matter could move to court.

Morris said the possible impact on the community is still unclear.

“There are a number of additional options. It’s not, it’s not as though trash is going to be piling up in the streets,” he said before the meeting. “The question is really going to be about convenience and price.”

He said it could lead to a price increase , it could lead to a decrease or the price could remain the same. It all depends on what agreement Landfill 3 actually ends up being built under.

“I don’t believe there will be any disruption in trash pickup,” said Morris. “The question will be whose truck is picking up your trash and where’s your trash going after it gets picked up."

The Peoria City/County Landfill Committee ended Wednesday's meeting with an executive session to discuss “pending litigation.”

The committee's next meeting is Wednesday, May 22.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.