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Ridge Road landfill to be sealed

After lying closed and dormant for eight years, the old Ridge Road landfill soon will see the return of work crews and heavy equipment. When trucks do roll back on the property in about two weeks, they will not be hauling garbage. Instead, they will level the earth covering the dump, put down a tough plastic liner and cover that with several feet of soil.

The Pasco County Commission on Tuesday approved hiring S&E Contractors to seal the landfill and to pay the Clearwater company $1.8-million to do the job.

Although Pasco parks officials plan eventually to convert the site into a county park, they have not established a firm schedule for putting athletic fields on the 56-acre site.

"I would imagine that they will look at that possibility in next year's budget," said parks and recreation director Chuck Nelson, who is leaving the county for another job in about two weeks.

The evolution of the landfill, which lies on the north side of San Miguel Drive, west of Little Road, from dump to park has been in the works for several years.

Between 1974 and 1982, garbage trucks and citizens deposited about 680,000 tons of trash at the landfill. After the dump was filled up and closed, county and state officials continued to monitor the site to determine whether harmful chemicals were leaking from the landfill.

The plastic liner, which itself will be sandwiched between layers of a fiberglass-like fabric, is designed to keep rain from trickling through the buried garbage and washing pollutants into the groundwater.

Doug Bramlett, Pasco's assistant county administrator for utilities services, said the job sealing the landfill should be complete by late next spring.

County officials had planned to start the job earlier this year but sent the project out for bids again after one of the original bidders lodged a protest. S&E was the lowest of the five companies to submit a bid the second time around.