The ongoing leachate problem at the regional landfill in Suffolk, Virginia, is estimated to cost $1.9 million in contracts to fix, a report by the Virginian Pilot says. The Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) authorized the contracts during a special meeting on April 12.
The contracts include $138,000 to Conley Environmental of Chesapeake to improve more than a mile of roadway inside the landfill to accommodate tanker trucks and up to $1.8 million to Atlantic Heating & Cooling of Virginia Beach to haul 200,000 gallons of leachate per day over a five month period beginning May 1. The leachate will be brought to four Hampton Roads Sanitation District treatment plants at a 6 cent per gallon rate.
The report says the contracts allows the first phase of the cleanup process, estimated to take about five months, to begin.
More than 30 million gallons of leachate were found accumulated in two active cells of the landfill in late January, with 60,000 to 70,000 gallons more being generated each day. According to the report, as much as 80 million gallons of leachate may be removed and the SPSA eventually may have to build its own leachate treatment facility.
The SPSA is currently pumping 50,000 gallons of the liquid per day through a sewer line to the sanitation district’s Nansemond plant in northern Suffolk, but decided to bump up the removal rate to 250,000 gallons per day by adding truck hauling to the process. According to the report, it will still take at least a year to bring leachate levels back to state regulations. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality allows no more than a foot of leachate build up, and the landfill housed about 30 feet of liquid.
The reason why the large amounts of leachate had built up is still unclear, the report says. SPSA had no reliable measurements for at least seven years. According to the report, officials say there is no indication that the liquid spilled outside landfill liners.