AUSTIN — A proposed landfill that has been in limbo for about six years finally received the green light Wednesday morning.
The landfill is to be built on more than 1,200 acres of land at 7787 FM 1150, approximately 12.1 miles east of Seguin and just south of Interstate Highway 10 — above the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality unanimously approved the application permit by Post Oak Clean Green Inc., an environmentally-focused waste company, at a meeting in Austin.
Before the permit was approved, several city and county officials, including Seguin Mayor Don Keil, Guadalupe County Commissioner Pct. 1 Greg Seidenberger, State Rep. John Kuempel, had the opportunity to share their concerns regarding the project.
“We’re disappointed,” Keil said after the vote. “We’re not done yet, we’re going to keep fighting. It’s going to go on. It’s just another step. We’re going to talk to our council and see what steps need to be made.”
Since 2016, the landfill has been the center of a lengthy court battle with many concerns, including the plugging of 41 oil and gas wells on the property.
Since the wells were not plugged at the time of the application, but rather done after the initial hearing process, it was up to TCEQ to determine if they adequately satisfied administrative Texas codes.
“I believe it is clear that those oil wells have been plugged so the environmental requirement has been met,” TCQE chairman Bryan W. Shaw said.
TCEQ also decided to include the memorandum of understanding in the permit, which sets out a list of responsibilities for Post Oak with the United States Air Force to help with flight hazard risks such as bird strikes since the Seguin Auxiliary Airfield is near.
The understanding included:
• Post Oak will continue to pursue 24/7 operating hours to allow landfill operations the ability to avoid the USAF’s peak flight training hours (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday) by expanding the time for landfill waste disposal operations outside the USAF’s peak training hours.
• Post Oak will install a bird radar system at the landfill site at a cost not to exceed $600,000 to facilitate the monitoring of bird movements, and such radar data shall be made available to the USAF. Post Oak will also spend $25,000 per year for maintenance of the bird radar system.
• Post Oak will retain the services of a United States Department of Agriculture wildlife hazard management biologist with appropriate United States Fish and Wildlife Service certifications to undertake or direct actions to keep birds away from the landfill site, track bird trends and conduct prediction bird modeling.
• If large numbers of birds are observed on or within 500 yards of the landfill waste placement footprint, Post Oak must notify the USAF’s designated personnel.
• Post Oak will maintain a robust program to minimize the attractiveness of the landfill to birds and predatory wildlife species, including the use of pyrotechnics, auditory harassment techniques and propane cannon systems, among others.
• Post Oak will not plant and will maintain or remove, trees and shrubs so that they will not serve as nesting sites.
• Post Oak will install and maintain a perimeter fence around the site to keep medium to large mammals from entering the site.
“While it’s not something we often do I think it does add to the level of comfort and certainty with regard to ensure that everything that should be done is done to minimize the likelihood of bird strikes. I am comfortable with including the MOU in this case with the permit,” Shaw said.
Austin-based attorney John A. Riley who represents Post Oak Clean Green refused to comment.