Waste Management Projects
Short Mountain Landfill
VICTORY for the Integrated Material and Energy Recovery Facility (IMERF)
proposal for Short Mountain Landfill!
Your support was crucial in keeping 80,000 Tons of Waste Out of Lane County every year!
On December 5th the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve the Integrated Materials and Resource Recovery Facility (IMERF)! This action will make Lane County Oregon's top leader in solid waste management!
We heard from inside sources that testimony from the advocates, such as comments submitted by Beyond Toxics members, was clearly heard and helped win the support of the majority of County Commissioners. We are deeply grateful to YOU, our savvy and engaged members, for your strong partnership in the work we do together for climate action and toxics reduction! We are proud!
Your advocacy helped win the following benefits for our local community and and future generations.
Why is it important to keep food and yard waste out of the landfill?
Organic material in the landfill decays anaerobically - producing methane, carbon dioxide, and other trace gasses. Methane and carbon dioxide are categorized as pollutants due to their warming potential in the atmosphere. Methane can build up at a landfill and result in massive leaks to the atmosphere. Additionally, carbon monoxide and particulates are produced when landfill gas is burned as fuel at the current gas-to-energy facility. The proposed waste processing facility would improve local air quality by reducing the output of gasses and particulates from the landfill.
Why is it important to reduce the amount of waste materials going to the landfill?
Every landfill has a “lifespan” after which it must be closed down. With the proposed facility, Lane County can achieve a materials recovery rate over 70% and extend the remaining life of the County’s municipal solid waste landfill by more than 20 years. This important action will help prevent creating more environmental and climate problems today that will harm the next generations!
How will the waste recovery facility improve water quality?
As moisture moves downward through a landfill, it creates toxic leachate. To prevent contamination of groundwater with heavy metals and forever chemicals, the leachate must be collected and disposed of, at great cost to the public. Short Mountain collects the leachate oozing from the landfill, pipes it to holding tanks, and send millions of gallons by truck it to the Eugene Municipal Waste Water Processing Plant to be released to the Willamette River. Diverting 80,000 tons of trash every year will reduce the amount of leachate that must be dumped into the Willamette River, home to salmon and the source of drinking water for many Oregonians living downstream.
Why make this investment now?
The construction cost to Lane County is only $35 million which will be paid for by construction bonds repaid by small increases in garbage rates. For less than a $2 increase in monthly garbage rates over 2-4 years, today’s generation can invest in modern, advanced technology that will help reduce environmental pollution and climate-driving greenhouse gas emissions.
Coffin Butte Landfill
Communities around the Coffin Butte Landfill, north of Corvallis, sought our assistance to help stop a plan to expand the landfill by 30% and understand the landfill's toxic impact. Collaborating with the community, our research uncovered alarming methane leaks and millions of gallons of landfill leachate containing high levels of PFAS discharged into the Willamette River every year. The Oregon DEQ has neglected to scrutinize and update Coffin Butte's air quality permit since it was issued in 2009. We successfully filed complaints to prompt state and federal action for compliance. In addition to seeking lasting policy change, Beyond Toxics also hosted a community-wide townhall attended by over 80 people and canvassed over 400 homes in the community closest to the landfill to better understand the community's experience of living downwind from a large waste dump.
Coffin Butte's methane emissions contribute significantly to global warming. Addressing these leaks is vital in mitigating climate change risks. Additionally, ending the practice of leachate dumping in Oregon rivers is crucial for safeguarding drinking water, salmon, and aquatic ecosystems from harmful pollutants.