The expansion of the Winnebago County Landfill is one step closer to becoming reality after a hearing officer recommends the county board approve the proposed expansion.
A hearing officer has gone over all testimony given by residents as well as the parties named in the expansion process and stated he believes Rock River Environmental Services, the company the owns the landfill, is in compliance with all the criteria needed to be approved.
That means there is a need for waste removal, the facility protects public health and safety, minimizes the effects on surrounding property and operational danger, there is minimal effect on traffic flow, there is an emergency response for hazardous waste, the landfill is consistent with the county's waste management plan, and all requirements are met if the landfill is in a water recharge area.
The hearing officer states while there was substantial public comment received in opposition to the expansion, it did not substantially overcome the competent, authentic and relevant evidence on record that demonstrated the facility met each of the nine criteria.
A recommendation Rock River Environmental Services president and CEO John Lichty says he is grateful for, but that his efforts to enhance the quality of life for people around the landfill go beyond the nine criteria.
"It has some intangible things that go along with it, which even though it's not a health hazard, there's a quality of life issue that goes along with that and we don't want to have a negative impact on people that way," said Lichty.
The Winnebago County Board will first consider the expansion at their June 28th meeting and will likely vote on it at their July 12th meeting.