Mayor Glover holds public forum to review landfill shutdown plan

By Nikki Henderson |

Published 09/03 2014 04:35PM

Updated 09/03 2014 04:37PM

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover is holding a public meeting to offer insight on the state-approved plan that seeks to close the commercial landfill that continues to operate even though an underground fire burns regularly at the site.

The meeting is open to the public and will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 4 at Northside Elementary School on 1950 Northside Rd.

A representative from the state fire marshal's office will attend and Peggy Hatch, Secretary of Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, also has been invited.

The LDEQ last month ordered Harrelson Materials Management, Inc., to put out the fire, which has spewed smoke and flames for years from its Russell Rd. location.

This latest directive by the state gives Harrelson up to six months to extinguish the fire and also allows ongoing activity to continue.

Residents and Mayor Glover have said this is unacceptable because there is no way to know the additional waste and debris being brought into the facility won't contribute to the ongoing fires.

Harrelson has two other operations at the site: rock crushing and agricultural waste disposal. Although the company has permits for both, it does not have the proper zoning approvals needed for either operation.

MLK neighborhood leaders and Glover have lobbied state officials for several years to permanently close the landfill. These advocates have faced bureaucratic roadblocks but still managed to fend off Harrelson's effort several years ago to expand the landfill into a full-fledged municipal waste operation.

Glover said, "The DEQ has consistently failed to take decisive and effective action against this landfill and this latest order is another thinly-veiled effort to continue to accommodate Michael Harrelson's best interests at the expense of the health and safety of the citizens of the city of Shreveport."

Shreveport Fire Department officials met last week at the site with state officials and PPM Consultants, who have been hired to oversee the fire mitigation plan, to review Harrelson's plan to extinguish the fires and monitor air quality. Some of the deficiencies SFD found are:

  • Harrelson lacks the manpower and expertise to extinguish a subterranean fire.
  • PPM Consultants have no expertise battling subterranean fires.
  • There is no plan to provide public notice if elevated levels of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide or other potentially toxic gases are discovered.
Glover said, "The purpose of this meeting is to develop a strategy that will ultimately lead to completely closing all of the operations, the rock crushing, the agricultural wastes and the landfill. We also want residents experiencing health problems they believe are related to the landfill operation to complete and return information cards so that we can begin compiling a database."

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