Winnebago County gets earful on proposed landfill expansion

Apr 25, 2012

Owners of Rockford-area landfill are seeking approval to add more than 200 acres.  Experts and members of the public are getting their chance to voice their opinions. 

Comments are being accepted by county officials as they prepare to consider the plan in the coming weeks.   Area resident, Dave Goral, tells WNIJ along with odor and traffic concerns, he worries about the effect the expansion would have on economic development:

"We're a day late and a dollar short.  Rochelle is already ahead of us as far as rail and developing.  They're part of the I-39 corridor.  The only thing that was supposed to hold us back was the economy the last few years.  Now, you're going to have a garbage dump.  And, I just think it's a bad stigma that's going to go with the county."

Supporters of the expansion say Winnebago County could see an economic boost of more than 100-million dollars through so-called "tip" fees.  The owners of the site stress that the project would not deter economic development, would include environmental safeguards, and would have minimal impact on traffic flow.  They also say the landfill will be at capacity in about eight years, if the expansion doesn't happen.  Opponents say that can be blamed on the company accepting trash from the Chicago-area.

The public comment session will resume Monday at 5 p.m. the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford.  Written comments will be accepted until 30 days after the last public hearing concludes.  The debate over this plan comes after a similar outcry over a planned landfill expansion in DeKalb County.