Monmouth County, New Jersey Buys Private Landfill

Date: August 24, 2007

Source: News Room

In a striking reversal of the usual trend, Monmouth County, New Jersey took the unusual step of expanding its landfill by acquiring a privately-owned landfill. The measure guarantees a destination for its waste for at least the next 30 years. The county, which has run its own landfill in Tinton Falls since 1976, plans to take over the adjacent 260 acres known as Shrewsbury Disposal Landfill, which operated between 1963 and 1981. Under the terms of the agreement, the county pays nothing for the site which otherwise would have cost millions of dollars, but will instead spend a similar sum to "mine" the site and modernize it with required pollution control measures. The current owner, though not getting any money on the deal, saves millions in closure and post-closure costs mandated under state and federal environmental regulations.

A 2006 report by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection lays out the massive obstacles facing construction of new landfills, noting huge expenses and public opposition. Yet that report, citing the latest available statistics, says the state generates more than 19 million tons of waste a year, more than 10 million tons of which is recycled, 5.7 million tons of which goes into landfills and 3.9 million tons gets shipped out of state.

"The existing regional landfills in New Jersey have limited area for lateral expansions through the addition of new cells, and limited on site supplies of cover soils to support facility expansions," the Solid Waste Management Plan stated. "Consequently, the employment of innovative technologies to extend the useful life of the existing regional landfills is a growing trend."

The New Jersey DEP:

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