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Opposition may delay opening new landfill

Any opposition to the proposed Hernando County Northwest Landfill will make it difficult for officials to open the site by the state-imposed deadline of Jan. 1, 1992, officials said Tuesday. If no objections to the county's design are filed with the state Department of Environmental Regulation (DER), the landfill could be ready by May 31, 1991, according to county records.

Should the DER's approval be challenged, the resulting delay in winning permits would push the construction schedule into December 1991, utilities manager Richard Radacky said. The DER is not expected to rule on the plan until June.

The new landfill, near Norris Bishop Loop Road, is needed to replace the Croom Landfill in the Withlacoochee State Forest, which the DER has ordered closed by Jan. 1, 1992.

Some residents in the area around the proposed landfill were unhappy with the commission's decision last year to place it there.

The county is preparing to borrow more than $10.5-million to pay for closing the current landfill and opening the new one.

The county will need about $2-million to close and landscape Croom, as much as $1.8-million to buy the 362.5 acres for the landfill and $3-million to build the initial holding section at the new site, according to county estimates.

Other expenses include engineering fees, roads, scales and a landscaped buffer area.

County Attorney Bruce Snow told commissioners he has not reached an agreement with Florida Mining & Materials Corp. for the purchase of 310 acres that will make up the lion's share of the new landfill.

The mining company wants the sand on the property for use in manufacturing cement. The county has been trying to reach an agreement that would allow it to buy the land while permitting the company to continue to mine the sand.

However, if no agreement is reached and the county uses its condemnation powers to acquire the land, commissioners said, they would not allow Florida Mining to keep the sand.