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Fire at landfill forces Natchez, Adams County to find alternate landfill

NATCHEZ — Adams County and the City of Natchez scrambled Monday morning to find alternate locations for their respective waste haulers to dispose of garbage after a weekend fire closed the Riverbend Environmental Landfill at 4451 U.S. 61 in Fayette.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said Natchez Fire Chief Ventris Green told him that the fire was under control Monday morning but was still smoldering.

“Thank goodness, to my knowledge no one was hurt,” Gibson told aldermen at an emergency meeting to address the issue Monday. “That is the No. 1 question we asked this morning. However, we have been informed … that Arrow Disposal will not be allowed to use the landfill until it is returned to safe use. That means all of the garbage, all of the trash collected today, will have to be deposited elsewhere.”

Board members unanimously authorized Gibson to direct the city’s waste hauler Arrow Disposal Services Inc. to utilize a Waste Management landfill on U.S. 61 at Sibley at a rate of $45 per ton.

“We have been paying a good bit less than that under our contract,” Gibson said. “I believe we actually pay $14 per ton.”

The board of aldermen unanimously granted Gibson authority to allow Arrow Disposal to utilize the Waste Management landfill at the $45 per ton rate until Arrow Disposal is authorized to return to Riverbend or until Aug. 25, 2020, which is the date of the board’s next meeting or whichever occurs sooner.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an emergency order, during Monday’s regular meeting, authorizing the county’s waste collector Metro Service Group to utilize the same Waste Management landfill near Sibley at a rate of $44 per ton.

Adams County’s current rate for disposing at the Riverbend facility is $19.39 per ton, said Joe Murray, Adams County administrator.

The county will utilize the Waste Management landfill until Metro disposal is allowed to return to Riverbend.

Adams County Board of Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency were working the scene of the fire Monday morning.

“MDEQ is aware of a fire at the Riverbend Landfill in Jefferson County in the working face of the landfill that started sometime yesterday (Sunday) afternoon,” said Robbie Wilber, MDEQ spokesperson. “The landfill site is currently operated by a company named Riverbend Environmental Services, LLC. MDEQ does not know the exact source of the fire. Fires can occur in landfills periodically based on a number of potential sources and the cause or causes may never be known.”

Wilbur said MDEQ is onsite at the landfill monitoring the conditions and working to ensure the landfill operator properly and promptly works to extinguish the landfill fire.

“It is our goal to have the fire extinguished as soon as possible,” Wilbur said. “The landfill operator is currently re-directing wastes to other disposal sites until the landfill fire conditions can be abated and the normal operating conditions re-established.”