Hurricane Detection System To Be Blocked by 170-Foot-High Pile of Garbage

Some Other Landfill

Residents of Shadow Creek Ranch now have some unlikely allies in their fight to prevent an adjacent landfill from expanding into their, uh . . . airspace: TV weathermen.

That’s right: the real problem with Allied Waste wanting to expand its Blue Ridge landfill in Fresno from 302 to 784 acres—and increase its allowable maximum height from 58 to 170 feet—isn’t any toxic stench that might upset nearby residents, but the fact that it will block your TV newspeople from scaring you to death with alarming reports of giant hurricanes sneaking up on Houston from the Gulf.

That one-and-a-quarter-square-mile, 16-story tower of waste will block the Doppler radar installations of Channels 11, 13, and 26, which are located a few miles to the northwest. Sounds kinda picky, huh?

It may be too late for the weathermen to help new residents of the “#1 selling master-planned community in the Houston-Pearland Metroplex” stop their already smelly neighbor, since Fort Bend County and Missouri City have signed agreements not to oppose landfill-expansion plans. And TCEQ has already given its go-ahead to the giant heap of trash.

Seems it’s a little easier for developers to build towers outside Beltway 8—and you can build with cheaper materials, too.

Many residents of neighborhoods surrounding the landfill, such as Shadow Creek Ranch and Fresno, say what’s at stake for them is maintaining the value of their homes or their ability to obtain clean drinking water, and to maintain an acceptable quality of life in the face of what some believe will become at best a stinking nuisance.

. . . Allied has acknowledged, that in November 2005 a “statistically significant exceedance of barium was detected at the landfill.” The metallic element can act as a powerful nerve poison.

Detection of barium amounts to evidence the landfill already is leaking, [Environmental Attorney Richard] Morrison said in comments to TCEQ, and may threaten the drinking water supply in Fresno. He said more than 80 water wells are located within a mile of the proposed landfill expansion.

Allied Project Development Manager Gary McCuistion has stated that the company is “very confident” the increased presence of barium represents a naturally occurring event. [emphasis added]

After the jump, an aerial photo from the Shadow Creek Ranch website showing that pinkish, naturally occurring growth just across Almeda.


Shadow Creek Ranch Aerial Photo from Website with Blue Ridge Landfill Circled

Landfill photo at top: Flickr user maol