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South Side Landfill in Indianapolis could soon be expanding; residents voice concerns

South Side Landfill.PNG
Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 29, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued a permit to expand the South Side Indianapolis Landfill's dumping grounds.

Some neighbors were given a notice the landfill is expanding, but they're confused about what the document says, and now there is a growing concern that the landfill — and what's dumped — will soon be that much closer to the homes of folks who live out there.

"When I read it - it kind of gives you enough information to make you curious" Henry Melton said, talking about the notice he got that says IDEM issued a permit to the southside landfill to modify its facility to expand laterally in adding 42 acres of land disposal capacity.

"It really doesn't tell you what, which direction. They say laterally, or whatever, I guess — ya know," Melton said.

The notice caused some confusion for Melton and others around the neighborhood. The notice lays out a process to appeal the permit, however.

"They tell you you can appeal this, but you don't know what you're appealing," Melton said. "You look at that paper all it says is 42 acres; it didn't say which way they're going, what they're doing."

Some people in the neighborhood thought their land was going to be taken by eminent domain — that isn't happening. However, waste products will be getting closer to people's homes.

"Quite stinky — especially on hot summer days," Alex Gehle, who lives near the landfill, said. "Gotta keep your windows closed, try to stay inside or get out of the neighborhood."

Gehle worries about his kids being outside with possible pollutants in the air, and he worries about his investment.

"Property value could possibly go down because it's already a dump next door," Gehle said.

But the expansion is not a done deal. The notice lays out how people can appeal, which requires neighbors to circulate a petition recommending the hiring of a lawyer and requiring the petitioners to suggest an alternative in the permit. The notice also asks that the alternative language be consistent with applicable law.

Some neighbors are planning to put together a petition, and RTV6 will follow up and find out how that process is coming.

A spokesman for the South Side Landfill says most of the expansion won't be close to any residents and says the nearest occupied home is over 600 feet way. The company also says the landfill works to control odors by collecting the gas that is produced by the breakdown of waste and using it in alternative energy projects around the area.