The City of Lubbock wants to turn the old landfill into a processing plant for compost. It may sound like a good idea to some, but residents who live near the landfill say the plan stinks, quite literally. That's because the blended compost would be five parts ground wood chips to one part treated human waste.
At a town hall style meeting on Tuesday night at New Deal High School, about 120 residents showed up to air out their concerns about the compost project. Among other things, they say the operation will cause an odor, draw flies, and as a result, decrease property values. It was a cafeteria full of disenchanted citizens Tuesday night at New Deal High School. They are upset about plans to make compost from wood chips and human waste at the old landfill.
"I don't know of anyone who would want to live next to raw sewage, regardless of whether they've taken the odor out or not," says a concerned citizen, Mickey Jordan. Jordan is just one of hundreds of residents concerned about a new operation the City of Lubbock is trying to implement at the old landfill. The city is planning to haul treated human waste, called sludge, to the old landfill and turn it into compost, blending it with wood chips.
"Tonight, I was hoping to dispel fears. It is certainly not our intent to open a nasty smelling operation in their neighborhood," says Terry Ellerbrook with the City of Lubbock. Ellerbrook admits a similar operation with chicken manure a few years ago fell flat on its face, but he promises the sludge compost will not smell bad at all and will be in compliance with state environmental laws. But these residents aren't buying it, and they say it'll be costly to property values.
"My home is real close. We're asking the city to back off and make sure it's good for everybody," says concerned citizen, Randy Jordan. The city says they cannot technically close down the landfill for 30 years because the state requires them to keep an eye on erosion, run-off, and ground water contamination. Because of that, it's still a good dumping site for yard waste, which is why the city says it's an ideal location for the compost operation.
However, that's exactly what residents are against. Not the compost operation itself, just the proposed location. They say it needs to be further away from residential areas. The city's proposal to operate the facility is under review right now by the state, and if it's approved, they plan on moving forward with it.