Dispute Brews Over Chugiak Landfill Plan

Garbage is the new gold. Eklutna, Inc. has plans to get into the solid waste removal business, and has asked Municipality Of Anchorage permission to construct a “monofill” station on corporation land that is within the bounds of the Municipality.

But neighbors Svaja and Robert Worthington say that the Native corporation ought to build it somewhere else. They are forty year residents of the area, and point out that the proposed dump site would impact the quiet nature of their residential neighborhood

“We are shocked that they want to put this in a residential area. It is literally surrounded by parks and businesses and churches and schools and the senior citizens center and the post office and the walking trails. It is just right in the middle of all of that. “

The land is located in between the Old and New Glenn Highways. Ekluta has filed a master plan with the Muni’s community development department for 68 acres — 17 of which would be used for the monofill project. Erica McConnell, who handles current planning for the Muni’s planning department, says Eklutna’s plan states the site is full of gullies that would be ideal containers for the waste. Not so say the Worthingtons

“We drove back there where they want to fill what they call gullies, and they are actually very beautiful natural ravines covered with beautiful trees and sloping hillsides. The materials they want to put there, apparrantly they have had a problem with them in the municipal landfill, it’s messed up their leachfield, so they need to find somewhere else to put them.” “And mess up leachfields elsewhere.” “That’s how we see it. “

 McConnell says the type of fill would be debris from demolished buildings – what is left after toxic materials and recyclables have been removed – about 25 percent of the rubble left after demolition,

“As their application describes it, an inert waste monfill would take construction debris and debris from demolished buildings, anything that can’t be recycled. So, wood, plastic, foam. It would not take any household garbage, any liquids or any type of putresceable waste.”

McConnell says the plan would allow Eklutna to haul in fill for thirty years, then convert the property for other uses. McConnell says Eklutna’s master plan contains a request for a conditional use permit for the monofill project.

“And they are required to get Master Plan approval, a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission and an approval from the Municipal Assembly, and then they would also need a conditional use approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission for the monofill project.  They are still in the process and no approvals from either the Planning Commission or the Assembly have been granted yet. “

A public hearing is set for August 12 on the conditional use permit that would allow the site to be used for fill. Planning Commission public comment on the master plan itself is closed, although a second public hearing before the Anchorage Assembly is scheduled for next month.