Environmental and Energy Law Blog

Sunday, April 30, 2017

TCEQ Approves Camelot Landfill Expansion

On April 4, The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) tentatively approved an application to expand the Camelot Landfill by the City of Farmer's Branch.

In October 2016, the Lewisville approved an application by the Farmers Branch to expand the Camelot site, which is located within the city of Lewisville. This came after a four-year legal battle between the two cities over new ordinances  implemented by Lewisville. A final permit is slated to be issued by May 4, provided that a contested hearing or reconsideration is not requested before then.

The landfill was initially permitted in 1979, but the property was not annexed into Lewisville until 1987. The cities of Lewisville and Carrollton filed a federal lawsuit against Farmer's Branch over the proposed expansion, citing concerns over the pollution risks the landfill posed to the Woodbine Aquifer.

Camelot Landfill Settlement

As part of the settlement in 2015, Farmers Branch agreed to install several monitoring wells into the landfill. Then, the Texas legislature passed a law in the last session state that Lewisville would need to consent to any expansion. While test results of the wells last October indicated trace amounts of dichloroethylene,  those numbers are said to be declining.

During the approval period, the TCEQ considered numerous comments submitted by residents, many of who expressed concerns about ground water pollution and the impact the landfill would have on the community's water supply. They also argued that existing groundwater contamination should be remediated prior to the proposed expansion being approved. In addition, other residents questioned whether the monitoring wells were effective, as well as the propose height of the expanded landfill.

Reasons Camelot Landfill Expansion Was Approved

Nonetheless, TCEQ approved the expansion, noting Farmers Branch's track record of compliance and that the city was not responsible for the surrounding area’s drinking water standards. The commission also noted Farmers Branch will be installing 10 new monitoring wells and is taking corrective action to mitigate dichloroethylene in three existing wells. Lastly, the TCEQ noted that the landfill would eventually be covered with grass when it is completed.

The Takeaway

Whether or not community members request a reconsideration or contested hearing prior to the permit being issued in May remains to be seen. In the meantime, this story highlights the need balance the needs of the community with the safe and proper transfer and disposal of waste. Ultimately, resolving these issues required the advice and counsel of an experienced health, safety and environmental attorney.

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