Accountable for negligence

Published 4:37 pm Thursday, August 2, 2018


I attended the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting July 25, which ran until 1:45 a.m. Seems to be a trend when discussing landfills.

I had the opportunity to speak during the public forum, addressing the expansion of Shoosmith’s landfill into the quarry.

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The gist: the capacity of Shoosmith is 20 million tons. Currently, they have 1.6 million tons with a life expectancy of 31 years for operation. They are neighbors to the Amelia landfill, with 150 years of life. Why was an expansion necessary? Virginia is losing its motto. It is no longer the state for lovers, but quickly becoming the state for landfills from out of state.

The Chesterfield County Supervisors hired Golder Associates, of Richmond, to perform an independent study of the quarry. Golder Associates cited many issues. Shoosmith also had their hired studies performed. A conflict, you decide?

Thankfully, the BOS had to rely on the facts from their independent study, and their vote defeated the expansion 5-0. Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors showed common sense, and I applaud their passion to stand by their constituents. The burden for Chesterfield County citizen’s public safety falls upon the shoulders of the Chesterfield County’s Board of Supervisors.

Based on Chesterfield County’s Public Safety Codes, Shoosmith’s expansion violated sections of their safety codes. The BOS chose to rely on the facts from the independent company. DEQ permits are based on the structural integrity of the proposed developments in the permitting process.

In a general sense, 9VAC20-81-25, states, “in order to protect the public health, public safety the environment, and our natural resources.” However, the focus of DEQ are “the requirements for siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, closure and post closure care of solid waste management facilities.”

The burden for protecting the residents of Cumberland County should be the first priority of all the supervisors. If you look at the County’s codes, in Cumberland County’s Code/Ordinances, Public Safety, is empty, “reserved.” This is an issue.

The Cumberland County Supervisors, unlike Chesterfield BOS, are not educated to make decisions in Public Health Risk endeavors and should be hiring an independent company, such as Golder Associates. The BOS is responsible for the Public Safety of Cumberland County and will be held accountable for its negligence.

Victoria Ronnau