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Proposed landfill could put regional water supply at risk

SCHERTZ/SEGUIN, Texas (March 8) – Access to clean drinking water is a necessity that many of us take for granted. Recently, in places like Flint, Michigan, we have learned just how precious this commodity is and how easily it can be contaminated. For that reason officials from the cities of Seguin and Schertz have taken a stand against the proposed Post Oak landfill, which would be located on the outcrop of the recharge zone for the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.

The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer supplies water to the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation (SSLGC) which distributes it to their respective cities, and other customers like the San Antonio Water System (SAWS). The proposed landfill located east of Seguin, could put this water supply at risk.

"A decision to locate a landfill directly above a water source that tens of thousands of people depend upon to sustain life defies logic and suggests a palatable disregard for the well-being of one's neighbors, especially when other sites in the immediate vicinity are readily available and do not pose a threat," said Mayor Michael Carpenter, City of Schertz.

Currently the state is reviewing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) preliminary approval of a permit for the proposed landfill. During an eight day administrative law hearing in Austin, Post Oak Clean Green Inc. owner, Tom Funderberg, faced opposition to the permit.

“Our legal team did an excellent job pointing out all of the reasons that this is not the right place for a landfill,” said Alan Cockerell, SSLGC General Manager.

While the applicant has proposed the use of a geo-synthetic liner between the landfill and the aquifer, there has never been a case where a ‘liner’ has not leaked. Dr. Jorge G. Zornberg, P.E., a Fellow in the Geotechnical Engineering program at the University of Texas at Austin has studied the impact and risks associated with landfill liners, and provided expert testimony during the hearing. His testimony detailed why a thin liner cannot stop landfill waste from contaminating our water.

The administrative judges will issue their recommendation this summer, but TCEQ can still approve the permit regardless of the judges’ recommendation.

Opponents of the proposed landfill, including the cities of Seguin and Schertz, understand that landfills are necessary for proper disposal of our garbage and waste, but a landfill being located on top of the recharge zone that supplies drinking water to the region is just too risky.

“At first, we knew the landfill would be over the recharge zone by only a few feet, but now we know it will be placed below the water table of the aquifer! In other words, the landfill waste will be literally floating on our water source,” said Mayor Don Keil, City of Seguin. (See diagram)

Opponents of the landfill’s location include the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation (SSLGC), Stop Post Oak Dump (SPOD) and the Guadalupe County Groundwater Conservation District.

Interested citizens are encouraged to contact SSLGC or their local representatives for more information and to share their concerns.

Click here to view official joint release.

Click here to view photo of liner (Geosynthetic Institute).

Click here to see basic diagram of proposed landfill over aquifer.

Posted by: Morgan Ash