WACO, Texas -- After months of protests by Waco residents against the city’s plan to build a new landfill adjacent to the one near Highway 84, an engineer presented Waco City Council Tuesday with a backup location at an undisclosed location within 15 miles of the city.
At a June 20 City Council meeting, engineers were asked to find alternative sites within a 15-mile radius because anything further might require a costly transfer station. On Tuesday, the consulting firm came back with the one alternative site within the 15-mile radius and two more sites that were slightly outside the radius.
The closest alternative site – the one within the radius -- was 290 acres and would cost approximately $2.3 million to purchase, according to city officials. The precise location was likely discussed in executive session, but was not revealed to the public Tuesday.
Because that potential new site is farther away, the city estimated residential garbage rates could increase from $14.20 to $18.90, in order to fund the added wear and tear on vehicles, officials said.
City Council instructed the engineers to continue searching for and evaluating sites, but warned a decision would need to be made within the next 90 days about whether to pick a new site or stick with the original plan to build on the 270-acre property on Old Lorena Road, adjacent to the old site.
The city already owns the Old Lorena Road site.
But, the original plan drew sharp backlash from homeowners worried about its close proximity to their properties and the impact on their home values. Additionally, the Alliance for the McGregor Airport – an organization representing aircraft owners, operators, pilots and passengers – joined the protest against the expanded landfill plan, arguing it would attract more birds and potentially endanger flights. Back in January, concerned citizens filed a lawsuit against the city – saying building on the adjacent site violated a 1992 court settlement.
City Council said the remaining life of the old Waco landfill is roughly seven years, so a decision would have to be made soon – regardless of what it ends up being.