Greta Calvary, senior public affairs manager with Waste Management, said she expects the landfill will close in about three years.
DFW Landfill currently accepts waste from Lewisville, Highland Village, Carrollton, Double Oak, Hickory Creek and Lake Dallas. As the landfill nears capacity, Waste Management will begin scaling back the volume of waste it accepts, Calvary said. Flower Mound will be unaffected, as the town uses the Camelot Landfill in Lewisville for waste disposal.
DFW Landfill Manager Ricky Whitesaid Waste Management accepts about 5,000 tons of waste a day and an estimated 1.38 million tons per year.
“Landfill capacity is based on space and volume,” Calvary said. “It is a height and footprint capacity.”
According to an annual data analysis and summary report by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the DFW Landfill accepted about 1.56 million tons of waste in 2018. That same report showed at that time the DFW Landfill still had room for about 4.73 million tons of waste.
In September, Waste Management sent the city of Highland Village a letter stating that the landfill is nearing the end of its “operational life.”
”Because of limited remaining airspace capacity, we will no longer accept your waste at the DFW Landfill after December 31, 2019,” the letter stated. “This advance notification is being made to allow our valued customers enough time to take the necessary action to locate alternative disposal options effective January 1, 2020.”
Although Waste Management will stop accepting waste from Highland Village in the new year, that is not the case for the city of Lewisville. This is because Lewisville contracts directly with Waste Management, while Highland Village has a contract with third-party service provider Community Waste Disposal, or CWD.
CWD Municipal Coordinator Jason Roemer said that CWD, as a third-party contracted trash hauler, is one of the top providers of waste for the DFW Landfill.
“At the end of this year, we will no longer be able to take our waste to them because they are nearing capacity,” Roemer said. “So they let us know they’re reducing down the amount of contracted haulers of waste to that landfill.”
Scott Kriston, director of public works for Highland Village, said he anticipates that CWD will request a fee increase at the beginning of 2020 to accommodate the extra transportation costs that will come with taking the city’s trash to a different landfill.
Any fee increase to the city would affect the waste disposal fees paid by residents, and those figures would first have to be approved by Highland Village City Council, he said.
Roemer said CWD plans to haul Highland Village’s trash to the Denton Landfill starting in January.
“We still have to sit down and have those discussions with Highland Village when we start to use the landfill in Denton since it is farther away than the DFW Landfill,” Roemer said.
The DFW Landfill, like all landfills in Texas, is regulated by the TCEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To comply with these agencies, Waste Management must protect surrounding groundwater from being contaminated by the landfill and control odors from the landfill, Calvary said.
“Waste Management safeguards groundwater in the area by regularly sampling and analyzing water from monitoring wells,” an informational document from the company stated. “To protect surface water, the site manages stormwater runoff using silt fences, rock dams, erosion control mats and other best management practices.”
Landfills give off a natural odor because of the gas produced by decomposition of waste, according to Waste Management officials.
“We use a number of processes in order to control odors,” Calvary said.
The DFW Landfill has 167 wells that capture this gas, Calvary said. It also has two facilities that turn the gas into enough energy to power about 5,000 homes, she said.
“We also use a misting system around our perimeter using deodorizing and neutralizing agents to control any wind-carried odors from the trash being dumped into the landfill,” Calvary said. “There is also an on-site flare, which burns off any gas unused in the facilities.”
When the DFW Landfill closes in the future, it will still have to follow TCEQ and EPA regulations. Those requirements include the addition of a three-foot cap with layers of clay, a polyethylene liner and vegetation.
Waste Management will also be responsible for monitoring the landfill after it closes and managing the gases that will continue to be emitted.
“The required post-closure care period is 30 years from site closure, but this can be shortened or extended by the director of an approved state program as necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment,” the EPA’s website states.