April 23, 2017 Fair, 39F

In ’90s, asbestos ban pushed

MORRISON – In the early 1990s, some residents didn’t want asbestos at Whiteside County’s landfill east of Morrison. As a result, the county banned the material in its permit with the state.

But some county officials are considering changing that provision. They would need state approval.

On Tuesday, County Board members said the landfill, run by Waste Management, is the only one in the state that bars asbestos, which is considered a hazardous material.

Tom Ausman, D-Sterling, chairman of the board’s Landfill Committee, said the county was approached earlier in the summer about allowing asbestos. The concern was that people would improperly dispose the material rather than driving a longer distance to a landfill that accepts asbestos.

Then a fire destroyed much of downtown Prophetstown. Officials there requested that the county waive the asbestos ban to lower the costs to clear the rubble.

The county then found it wasn’t just a matter of waiving its own policy, but changing its permit on file with the state.

“In the state’s view, there is a landfill that is very close that can accept this waste – the Lee County Landfill,” County Administrator Joel Horn told the board at Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t know if they’ll go along with this.”

Asked what it would cost to change the permit, Horn said the county would have to pay a consultant to prepare an amendment to the permit.

The Landfill Committee plans to look into the issue.

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