New investor surfaces for Durham 'fill
courtesy map, The Marana Regional Landfill would be located on land north of Avra Valley Road.

Proponents of a permitted but undeveloped landfill in Southern Pinal County have a new investor, the Marana Town Council was told last week.

Hunt Development Group of El Paso, Texas "has now formally joined forces with the owners of the Durham Regional Landfill" in Southern Pinal County, "with the objective of opening that already zoned facility in 2012," according to a July 19 letter from Gary Sapp, president of Hunt's Southwest Division.

Principals in the Durham project have opposed the DKL Holdings proposal to build the Marana Regional Landfill on land north of Avra Valley Road and east of Trico Road.

"We fully respect your exclusive authority to approve or deny the specific plan for the landfill proposed on Avra Valley Road," Sapp said in his letter to the Marana Town Council. "But should you determine that this land use is not appropriate for the location proposed in the Town of Marana's specific plan, we want you and your community to know that our plans will provide solid waste disposal capacity that is convenient, adequate, appropriately located and available to serve Marana residents, businesses and institutions for a very long time."

Questions have been raised "about the financial strength of the Durham Landfill," Sapp said. "We hope this letter will set the public record straight."

Hunt Companies have "over $8 billion in assets under our management," Sapp said.

Joan Travis Triumph read the letter from Hunt at the July 20 town council meeting, and called it "a viable alternative plan."

Michael Racy, representing DKL Holdings, commented on the Hunt letter. Durham has "a new investor," he said. "Good for them." The Marana Regional Landfill offers "a direct haul in Pima County to decrease the cost for all residents of Pima County."

Developer would lower max height of landfill by 30 feet

DKL Holdings has agreed to reduce the maximum height of the proposed Marana Regional Landfill by 30 feet, consultant Michael Racy told the Marana Town Council on July 20.

Originally, the maximum height was projected at 195 feet. With feedback and requests considered, that maximum height is now 165 feet, with a maximum average height of 135 feet, Racy said.

Tucson's Los Reales Landfill has a maximum height of 240 feet. The Cactus Landfill in southern Pinal County is allowed up to 270 feet.

DKL plans "variation of height" at the Marana Regional Landfill, giving the project a "softer aspect" as compared to a mine tailings pile. "It will be enormously less imposing than the cement plant," as well as the tailings pile around the mine at Twin Peaks, "that is now one peak."

A 15-foot, landscaped berm would be built around the project perimeter north of Avra Valley Road. "It would be five to seven years before you would ever see anything over the top of that berm," Racy said. "This is a slowly developing slope of soil that gets vegetated along the way."

Ohio-based health consultant is 'comfortable' with 'fill proposal

An Ohio health consultant working on behalf of the company that wants to build a landfill in west Marana is "very comfortable with what's being proposed here."

Deborah Gray of Westerville, Ohio, told the Marana Town Council "there are a lot of issues out East" with "old and hazardous waste landfills."

For health to be impaired by a landfill, Gray said, hazardous chemicals must be accepted, there must be "mechanisms for substance release," and there must be "completed exposure pathways by which people eat, drink or breathe hazardous substances."

"If any of those conditions are not met, there's no exposure," Gray said.

At the Marana Regional Landfill proposed by DKL Holdings, she said, "is there a source of hazardous substances? No. Can substances get out? No. Are there completed exposure pathways? No."

In considering the site, "I feel as a public health person very comfortable with what's being proposed here, judged on the merits of this specific landfill at this specific site," Gray said.

Her comments were criticized by landfill opponents.

"I'm disappointed there is no public health report" from an objective party, Albert Lannon told the council. "The problem is not with intent. No one sets out to build a toxic menace. You can eliminate all risks by not building a landfill near people and a water supply."

"Last night, it was wailing out there," said Silverbell West resident Pam Ruppelius, referring to a monsoonal burst of wind that moved across much of the region. "It's airborne pollutants, and it will be created."

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