The oldest cell in the city’s now-closed municipal solid waste landfill is apparently giving an unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: leachate.
Billy Cooch, of Highland Technical Services, told the City Council on Tuesday during its work session that the cell apparently has a dome of water inside it that is emptying into ground water and springs. That water is contaminated with leachate, which is garbage-polluted water, that must be contained or disposed of to meet state and federal regulations, he said.
“We are fairly certain this cell is holding water, and it’s causing a change in the (water) pressure,” Cooch said. The city contracted with his company to advise on landfill operations and conduct required regulatory testing.
Cooch described what’s going on as “head pressure.” As water collects in the closed cell, pressure builds and the water must be released somehow, he said.
Water always takes the course of least resistance in nature, and in the cell, that course is through ground water.
Dye trace testing done in 2011 by Highland Technical revealed an anomaly in ground water flow near the old cell.
Ground water was flowing in the opposite direction of the water in and around the landfill, which signified that something might be amiss.
Cooch said a test bore will be made into the mounded cell to get a better understanding of what’s going on. If water is found inside the cell, then a pump would be installed to remove the water. He said that should stop leachate escaping and eliminate the head pressure that apparently is causing the ground water anomaly.
The council, in its regular meeting, approved a contract with Highland Technical to perform the testing.
In other business during the regular meeting, a group of residents opposed to the construction of a second Walmart off Cloverdale Road continued to urge the council to vote against rezoning the property. Among their arguments against the store is the proximity of historic Coffee Cemetery to the property and possible burial sites in an area that would be under the south parking lot.
One of those who spoke was Dianne O’Neal, a descendant of Gen. John Coffee and of Edward O’Neal, for whom the bridge spanning the Tennessee River between Colbert and Lauderdale counties is named. She said her ancestors, among the most prominent residents of early Florence, would not be pleased with the construction of the store so near a residential area.
“Edward O’Neal would want me to say this, that building it would show disrespect,” she said.
O’Neal also alluded to a comment made to the citizens’ group earlier by a lawyer who said the group would have no legal standing to file an injunction to slow or stop construction if the council grants rezoning.
“The O’Neals are descendants of the Coffee family, and we do have legal standing,” she said.
Robert Palmer can be reached at 256-740-5720 or robert.palmer@TimesDaily.com.