Our Responses to R.R.A.D.
Recently, it came to our attention that a group that calls themselves R.R.A.D. (Richfield Residents Against the Dump) was formed to prevent our property from being redeveloped by accepting clean fill. We want to take the opportunity to reach out and address some of the concerns the group R.R.A.D has.
From the DNR:
What is defined as "clean fill" that does not have to be taken to a landfill?
Wisconsin's Solid Waste Management Codes and Statutes do not use the term "clean fill." However, s. NR 500.08(2)(a) Wis. Adm. Code, does address this general topic. This code provision says that, provided specific locational, performance, and operational standards are met, facilities accepting only clean soil, brick, building stone, concrete, reinforced concrete, broken pavement, and unpainted or untreated wood are exempt from licensing and the requirements of chs. NR 500 to 538, Wis. Adm. Code.
Click HERE for the link to the DNR website
Click HERE for the link to Groundwater Concerns
Who is R.R.A.D.?
According to their website, "R.R.A.D. stands for Richfield Residents Against Dump." They are a community group who wishes to keep their rural way of life, the purity of our ground water, and nuisance free roads so that the numerous cyclists and pedestrians on our narrow and winding roads are safe. They agree with the Village of Richfield in stopping any and all landfills in our neighborhoods from becoming a reality.
Scenic Pit LLC Response
The Scenic Pit LLC shares the wishes of the community to keep our rural way of life, the purity of our ground water, and nuisance free roads. Safety is always of upmost importance, and we truly believe in the positive effects of restoration both environmentally and economically. This site WILL NOT be in anyone's neighborhood. This is private property and is completely isolated from surrounding neighborhoods. In fact, there is a thick tree line and a birm surrounding the entire pit. You can't see any homes from the excavated area, you would have to go on the rim of the pit and through the wood line to see any neighboring properties.
It is true that clean fill facilities are defined as solid waste and can be called a "landfill". Honestly, it took us a long time to refer to our project, and the act of accepting clean fill for grading, a "landfill". Landfills create visual images of seagulls, garbage, foul smells, and contaminated waste. That visual image would not be appropriate to describe our project or site.
It's simple really; we are only accepting materials that are already designated as SAFE for the public and environment by the DNR and the State of Wisconsin. These materials are so safe that the DNR requires no permits or licensing. Most subdivisions are built and constructed using clean fill. It's not uncommon in the spring and summer months to see signs saying "Clean Fill Wanted". The point is, restoration of the site requires that we accept clean fill as defined in NR500.08(2)(a). We live in Richfield, plan to build our home at this site, and our horses will be grazing in the pasture. We are not interested in contaminating the site, both because it's against the law AND we will be living on the property.
RURAL WAY OF LIFE: Part of living in a rural area is dealing with agriculture and post-mining effects on the environment. Reclamation is now required for all nonmetallic mines in operation after 2001 per NR 135. Reclamation of the site is essential to protecting and restoring the environment and public safety. We are developing country estates that are very much a rural way of life.
GROUND WATER: Stormwater needs topsoil, vegetation, and layers of ground to filter out toxins. For ground water to be clean it needs to filtered. In fact, in our pre construction meeting with the DNR it was expressed to the Village Administrator and Village Engineer that accepting clean fill would actually improve the quality of the ground water.
I thought the pit was a done deal and that they are ready to start dumping?
Far from it. The only permits that the pit has obtained is a storm water run-off permit and a permit to widen the entrance of the driveway to 24' wide. The DNR has already stated that they would need local approval to begin filling the pit.
Scenic Pit LLC Response
The Zoulek Family LLC has obtained WPDES Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Permit. In good faith, the Scenic Pit LLC also applied for an erosion control permit from the Village of Richfield and a temporary driveway permit and both were denied. The Village approved a permit to widen a different driveway.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on a case very similar to ours in DeRosso Landfill Co. vs the City of Oak Creek. The WI Supreme Court held that a prospective landfill operator need not apply for local approvals.
The language is very clear:
"In making the determination that clean fill facilities do not pose significant risks to health and are therefore entitled from exemption under Wis. Stat. 289.43(8), the DNR has not ceded jurisdiction or authority but has proactively exercised its authority to promulgate rules and regulations rendering that exemption effective. By exempting clean fill facilities from a negotiation and arbitration procedure that would have normally allowed municipalities to participate in the siting process, the DNR has determined that insignificant health risks those facilities pose render unnecessary the negotiation and arbitration procedure, which can me time-consuming and costly."
"It is manifestly absurd to instruct a prospective landfill operator that it need not apply to a municipality to open a facility while simultaneously stating that the same municipalities ordinances govern whether, and under what conditions, the facility should be opened and operated."
"Waste disposal sites, as we all know, are not popular in most communities and public opposition often takes the form of exclusionary ordinances and regulation."
- DeRosso Landfill Co vs the City of Oak Creek, WI Supreme Court Decision
Didn't they go to court about this already?
Scenic Pit LLC sued the Village of Richfield and Village administrator Jim Healy. They also tried to obtain a restaining order against both to try to keep them from intefering with their plans. Both cases were dismissed by the judge. For details see the "News and Info" page.
Scenic Pit LLC Response
We are still in litigation. The case is still open, we are not sure as to why the West Bend Daily News reported that the judge refused to grant an injunction, we have discussed the misleading headliner with the editor and they are aware of the current status of the case. Cases take a while and we are simply trusting that the judicial system will clear this matter up. If you look on CCAP (Wisconsin Circuit Court Access) you will see that our case is still open.
note: If you search for Village of Richfield under cases you will see the number of open and recently closed cases they have in Washington County Circuit Court.
They said they were only going to fill it with clean fill. What's the harm in that?
“Clean fill” can include clean soil, brick, building stone, concrete or reinforced concrete not painted with lead-based paint, broken pavement, and wood not treated or painted with preservatives or lead-based paint are disposed (NR 500.08(2)(a)).. Concrete surfaces have often been treated with chemicals. Even in the absence of lead-based paint, painted concrete contains chemicals of concern. The exhaust from the many trucks traveling daily on our roads could be a source of ground water contamination (EPA). The trucks also cause noise, dust and smell. While all intentions are to allow clean fill to be dumped in the pit, there is no way to test every load for other potentially hazardous contaminates.The ground water we all rely on for drinking is located anywhere from 6-20 feet below the floor of the pit. Contamination of our ground water is a big reason for everyone who lives in the Village of Richfield to be concerned. Just to the north of us is a perfect example. The wells in Ackerville are now contaminated because of dumping that occurred when the HWY 164 bridge was being built. For details, see the "News and Info" page.
Scenic Pit LLC Response
Ackerville was an operating landfill that was contaminated during landfill operations in the mid-1940s to 1969 at the Old Polk Dump which was an unregulated landfill. The other landfill operated from 1969-1982 when the Washington County Circuit Court Judge ordered it to be shut down. The HWY 164 bridge only pushed the contamination further into the ground, the contamination did not occur from dumping from the construction site. This is absolutely a false misrepresentation!
The exhaust from the traffic on Scenic Rd is already a concern because the roadway runoff goes straight into the ground water without being filtered. In other words, because the excavation is only 6-20 ft from the floor of the pit it is even more imperative that this site be filled to create a filtering system to prevent pollutants from entering the ground water.
EVERY SINGLE LOAD is tracked and documented. Trucks are required to register 24 hours in advance before arriving at the site so we can research the job site and the BRRRTS website (the site used by the DNR for all known contaminated sites). We are VERY SERIOUS about ground water safety and the environment. We are trained in identifying contaminated soil, our team has over 40 years of experience working in the construction industry and underground systems and disposal of both clean and contaminated soils. We are required to give a weekly report to the DNR for erosion control and the DNR reserves the right to inspect our site at their discretion.
Truck Noise: We have hours of operation that comply with the county working hours restrictions. Trucks use Scenic Rd everyday.
Dust: We have dust control measures in place. The pit has a thick row of trees and a berm dividing the neighborhood and the site. We have a tracking pad and will use a sprayer as needed to prevent dust.