Waller County Commissioners Approve Controversial Highway 6 Landfill

By  | 

You've seen the signs of opposition on fences along Highway 6 in Hempstead, and now Waller County Commissioners have approved plans for a very controversial landfill.

Commissioners decided to pave the way for the construction of the Pintail Landfill, near the intersection of Highway 6 and U.S. 290.

It's a move that would bring revenue to the area, along with household garbage.

Signs of protest in a full courtroom in Hempstead Wednesday as Waller County Commissioners voted 3-2 to adopt what's called a host agreement with Pintail Landfill.

They want to open up a 250 acre solid waste disposal facility north of U.S. 290 and near Highway 6.

Commissioners John Amsler and Jeron Barnett adamantly opposed it.

"This is an outrage!," said Amsler during discussions.

"I think it has to be one of the most important decisions, probably the most important decision ever that is going to be made in Waller County," said Barnett.

Waller County Judge Glenn Beckendorff says he doesn't want a landfill either, but voted to drop opposition and sign an agreement with the landfill company.

A new ordinance will also stop other landfills from ever coming.

They'll now be able to regulate how this landfill would run and its size.

"Since there's already been a draft permit issued, we feel like that's the best way we have of protecting the county in the future," said Judge Beckendorff.

Billy Frazier co-owns Frazier's Ornamental and Architectural Concrete and is downwind to the proposed landfill.

"And we we're questioning why if they indeed don't want a landfill, why they did that? Because it really opens this up to being a monopoly in one of the worst places in Waller County, because of the impermeability of the soil and the danger to the water," Frazier said.

The opposition tells us the fight is far from over.

"Our technical experts have said this is the worst possible site they have seen in their 30 years in their permitting landfills," said Attorney Michael Woodward, who is representing the Highway 6 landfill opposition.

"This is a horrible decision that they made today. It's not a done deal, we're going to fight this all the way to the Texas Supreme Court," added Frazier.

News 3 also spoke by phone with the President of Pintail Landfill who says they are continuing the permit process.

President Ernest Kaufmann said if approved they would haul in garbage from within a 40 mile radius and would not accept sewage sludge, or medical waste.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will make the final decision.

It has 1,016 requests for a contested hearing.

TCEQ says it could still be another six to nine months before a final decision is made.