A total of 3500 residential and 80 commercial addresses are located within a 2-mile radius of the Medley landfill.
DORAL, FL – Residents, businesses, workers and City of Doral authorities are firmly opposed to the vertical expansion of the Medley landfill.
Waste Management Inc. of Florida (WMIF), the company that manages the Medley landfill, located at 9350 NW 89thAvenue, to the North of Doral is requesting a modification to their permit. They are searching for vertical expansion, from 265 feet NGVD to 340 NGVD. This expansion will carry with it the increase in the life of the landfill by 10 years, allowing it to be in operation until 2036, instead of 2026.
Maggie Santos explains that the City of Doral is requesting to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to deny this permit. “The City Council has approved to hire legal environmental experts that can advise the city, and the City Attorney has also presented a formal request that explains that this is a problem that affects the quality of life of the residents of Doral.”
The request presented before the FDEP by the City of Doral’s attorney states, among other things, that inefficient and inadequate methods to manage solid waste are dangerous for the public health, cause air and water pollution, they constitute a waste of natural resources and have an adverse effect to the value of the land apart from creating public hazards.
“The City of Doral is also requesting that the FDEP denies any future permit of expansion for this landfill, either vertical or any other type until WMIF complies with the current rules regarding the prevention and management of the odors emanating from the landfill,” Santos added.
At the same time, The City of Doral is requesting that WMIF immediately conducts a study to determine the specific source of the odors emanating from the landfill in order for them to be able to implement preventative strategies against contamination and to improve their management practices to protect human health and the environment.
Examples on preventative strategies to avoid contamination and better management practices for this landfill include, among others, a mud wall or a similar method of containment or treatment in between the landfill and the adjacent land and residential neighborhoods; better systems to collect gases; better monitoring programs for the core, perimeter and outskirts of the landfill; analysis of the potential risks for the health and the development of a communication program with the City of Doral, its residents and business owners.
The City of Doral’s request is based on Florida Statues 403.707 which indicates that a solid waste management facility cannot be operated, maintained, constructed, expanded, modified or closed without an appropriate and currently valid permit issued by the FDEP and this facility should not be expected to create a threat to the environment or public health.
The operation of the landfill affects negatively the City of Doral and its 64 thousand residents and businesses due to the harmful odors emanating from the landfill. These are exacerbated when it rains impacting the quality of the air. From January 2016 to August 1st, 2019, the City of Doral has received a total of 2542 complaints about the odor and the negative effects to the health that are directly related to the landfill.
This expansion will not only exacerbate the harmful odors, but it will also increase the negative effects to the health because of the hydrogen sulfur and other chemical components and the increase in the greenhouse gas emissions, including methane that also have an impact on climate change.
It is important to also take into consideration that this proposed expansion will be limiting outdoor activities such as jogging, biking, team sports, hiking, strolling, taking the children to the park, maintaining your property, landscaping, and grilling, all this in order to avoid being exposed to the unpleasant odor and unhealthy air.
Economically speaking, the increase in those unhealthy odors will cause the value of the properties in Doral to decrease. This will negatively affect all the homeowners, and it will cause the income tax to the City of Doral to be impacted when local businesses start to leave our city for this reason.
THE COMMUNITY’S VOICE
The residential and workforce community of Doral do not seem to be very happy with this request either. For example, Ann Ryan, who lives in Doral and is a resident who is very concerned with the collective well-being, believes that this request to increase the Medley landfill is simply ridiculous.
“I believe that what is necessary is that we get united to oppose this absurd request. This landfill does not comply with the proper regulations at the environmental level, they do not collect the liquids created by the garbage, they do not have an odor control and they are still working with technology to process garbage that is already obsolete. It is not fair that we have to coexist with this dump right in our residential area, and now they even want to expand.”
Isis Alfonso does not live in Doral, but she has worked in our City for a long time and comes here on a daily basis. In her opinion, the bad odor intensifies especially when it rains, when the temperatures are higher than normal or when there is a lot of wind. This causes that the residents avoid outdoor activities as simple as walking their dog, for this reason, she believes that the request for the increase in the height of the Medley landfill should not be approved.
“Nevertheless, this request from the Medley landfill should also help us raise awareness and create conscience about the garbage problem. The truth is that the areas destined to the processing of waste grow every day because we generate more waste every day. It is fine that we get united against the expansion of this landfill but with this same energy, we must come together in the generation of less waste. Recycle and reuse are actions that WE all must incorporate in our routine if we want a cleaner, healthier and less polluted city.”
Lorena Noguera lives in Doral and also works here as a real estate agent and it is for this reason that this subject concerns her. “With this expansion, the odors will increase together with the damage to the environment and our health. This expansion would negatively affect the residential investments in Doral because it will scare possible buyers and it will cause losses to the current homeowners that would experiment a decrease in the value of their properties.”
Humberto Fernandez is a merchant in Doral that states that he is totally opposed to this expansion. “I oppose the expansion and maintenance of this landfill because of the health risk that it represents. It generates bad odors, for this reason it is very unpleasant for the residents and customers of Doral businesses, and for example in case of hurricanes that are very common in Florida there is a possibility that the garbage gets scattered around the County, even in our beaches, as it happened in Fresh Kill Landfill in New York. I really do not see any positive side to the expansion of the landfill.”
The younger generations also disapprove of this request. Geradinna Piccone and Ricardo Guercione both 19 years old and residents of the area close to the Medley landfill, disapprove of this request. “I do not agree with the expansion of the landfill because it is very close to a residential area and it will only increase the bad odor and the environmental damage. This is awful for those that would like to live or visit the city or the plant, it produces gases that are harmful to the environment and it also generates the proliferation of unpleasant animals.”
Nataly Zambrano has lived in Doral for the past four years and she states that she is against the expansion of the landfill and therefore with the extension in the time for it to continue working. “I think that this request is outside of the context of the urban planning of the area and it increases the probability of health problems in our community.”
In summary, if the FDEP grants the modification to the permit of the WMIF, the City of Doral will suffer an irreparable damage, it will be gravely affecting the emotional and physical health of its residents, workers, and businesses, it will cause losses in the properties and services for those businesses that abandon the city and it will also cause losses in tax revenues.