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Modern Landfill begins groundwater testing as residents pitch demands

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Lower Windsor Township should consider hiring a special attorney with expertise in environmental law and landfill host agreements in its negotiations with Republic Services, according to a citizens advisory group that's been meeting to discuss the issue.

Brian Lauer, one of eight township residents in the advisory group, addressed the board of supervisors Thursday with updates from the group's meetings and their primary concerns.

"Some of these things that I mentioned — property value protection, purchasing agreements, how to compensate for degraded lifestyle — those are things that are obviously better addressed through legal counsel, to get the wording right," Lauer said.

The advisory group met Feb. 3 and Feb. 11, he said.

Board Chairman Barry Miller said he's not opposed to hiring outside counsel but that the group should solidify the things they'd like the attorney to look into.

Miller also said the township should consider sending its proposal to Republic before consulting an attorney, to see if Republic says the township's requests are feasible.

"If their consensus says, 'Yeah, it’s something we can work with,' then maybe that’s when we need to do something," Miller said.

The township formed the citizens advisory group in January after more than 200 residents turned out to oppose the signing of a host agreement with Republic Services ahead of a proposed expansion of Modern Landfill.

Residents' concerns included pollution, contamination of ground water, declining property values and reduced quality of life, especially for residents who live on the perimeter of the proposed expansion.

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Tim O'Donnell, general manager of Modern Landfill, has attended the township supervisors' meetings in recent months to listen to residents' concerns and answer questions.

At Thursday's meeting, O'Donnell said Republic would begin drilling in March in about 25 spots within the proposed expansion boundary to test the groundwater and collect ground samples for geological analysis.

The location of groundwater is one factor that will determine the footprint and perimeter of the expanded landfill area, O'Donnell has said.

"That's the sum total of the work," he said, adding that this is not the start of land development. "It's to begin the investigation so that we can start to draw lines and define where the landfill footprint is."

The drilling will likely continue until mid-April, he said.

O'Donnell also encouraged the township and its citizen committee to consult with experts who are knowledgeable in the subject matter.

With residents up in arms over a proposed expansion of Modern Landfill, Lower Windsor Township Board of Supervisors has tabled a vote on the updated host agreement until January.
Thursday, December 19, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Most of Modern Landfill is in Windsor Township, but the company is planning an eastward expansion into Lower Windsor Township.

The landfill expansion would be contained within a stretch of land covering about 1 square mile bordered by East Prospect Road to the north, Gun Club Road to the south, Mount Pisgah Road to the east and Barcroft Road to the west.

The proposed expansion area is in an agricultural zone.

Lower Windsor Township would need to either grant a zoning variance to Republic to allow industrial development or amend its zoning map to change the area to an industrial zone, township officials have said.

The next board of supervisors meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12.

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