Where does the Green Ridge landfill project stand?

Published 7:22 am Tuesday, February 21, 2023

CUMBERLAND – Since the start of the Green Ridge Landfill conversation in 2018, local residents have not hesitated to express concerns about this large project coming to Cumberland County. At the Tuesday, Feb. 14, Cumberland County Board of Supervisors meeting, we learned more about where the project currently stands. 

Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal have hired the Norfolk-based law firm of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black (WRVB) to represent them in the situation. 

According to WRVB attorney Will Shewmake, a big concern is that Shoosmith Landfill is scheduled to close by the end of this year, leaving two waste companies owning 99% of the capacity in the state. He argued this raises the urgency to get this landfill finished as Green Ridge is working with government authorities, residents and interested parties to create a plan that will work. 

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“This landfill is extraordinarily important not only to Green Ridge but in terms of the budgets and localities,” said  Shewmake. “Once Shoosmith closes… the tipping fees are going to go through the roof.”

Shewmake addressed a few of the concerns that local residents have voiced about the landfill. This landfill will serve Central Virginia and will only accept Virginia waste. Green Ridge also plans to commit to reducing the daily waste from 5,000 to 3,000 as this will also help reduce the number of trucks on Route 60, which was also a concern. Shewmake plans to have these rules in the permits and agreements between the county and Green Ridge to make sure this is “ironclad.” 

What about Pine Grove Road?

Another concern he addressed was the relocation of Pine Grove Road. The original plan was to adjust this road around the project, however, after residents voiced concerns the road will now stay. This is also beneficial as not relocating the road will further remove the waste disposal boundary, according to Shewmake.

According to County Administrator Derek Stamey, the next step for this project is for Green Ridge to receive state and federal permits. After this, Shewmake expressed the desire to sit down and create a host agreement and permits that will satisfy the needs of the county and the concerns of the residents. 

During the meeting, Shewmake pointed out how Green Ridge has already shown great interest in the county and is a supportive partner as they have provided scholarships, new band uniforms, funds for new parks and other needs for the county. According to Shewmake, Green Ridge wants to show that they are a valued member of the community that can be relied upon. 

Before the open meeting, the board held a closed session to discuss the host agreement. No decision was made in or out of a closed session regarding what was discussed. 

The Green Ridge landfill details so far

The Green Ridge landfill is planned to be on a 1,200-acre site with only 240 acres will be used as the actual landfill, along with the minimum 200-foot buffer that will go around the actual landfill site. As part of an agreement with the county, the landfill will not be accepting sludge or sheetrock, which are the elements that cause landfills to give off a foul odor.

The changes discussed in the meeting are not the first changes Green Ridge has announced for the project. The original design for the project had two disposal units but has been brought it down to one. This change addressed some concerns from Cumberland residents as its original design would have an impact on 3.38 acres of wetlands, while the new design will nearly eliminate the impact completely. This also brings down the number of homes that are located within a half-mile of the disposal area from 58 to 37. 

Once Green Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility receives the needed permits to obtain a Wetland and Waters of the U.S. permit from the Army Corps of Engineering as well as water, solid waste and air permits from the DEQ. Once both parties reach an agreement for these permits, more will be decided as they move on the creating the landfill design.