The Alabama House of Representatives approved legislation that clarifies landfills’ ability to use materials other than dirt to cover new garbage each day. Previously approved “alternative cover” materials have included shredded vehicle components from scrapped cars, contaminated soil and coal ash.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management said Thursday that it no longer allows the use of coal ash as cover and while a Walker County landfill still has a permit to use it, it soon will not. Sponsor Rep. Alan Baker, R-Brewton, said House Bill 140 is needed to codify what ADEM has allowed for about three decades. “It would be up to ADEM to decide in permits what covers are allowed,” Baker said on the House floor.

Current state law defines a sanitary landfill as a “controlled area of land upon which solid waste is deposited and is compacted and covered with compacted earth each day as deposited…” House Bill 140 now allows for alternative coverings besides just compacted earth on the landfills. It was approved by the House 102-0 on Thursday and now moves to the Senate.

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Author: Mary Sell, WAFF48/Alabama Daily News
Alabama Daily News