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KERA's news coverage of environmental issues in North Texas, the state and beyond.

Controversial Aledo Solid Waste Operation Approved

A controversial solid waste transfer station in Aledo got the green light Wednesday from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Opponents argued the big trash operation is too close to schools. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

Three State Representatives, Phil King, Charlie Geren and Mark Shelton were on record opposing plans for the Republic Waste transfer station off I-20 near Bankhead Highway. The cities of Aledo and Willow Park also joined opponents, as did the Aledo School District, represented by attorney Eric Allmon. He told commissioners at a hearing on the waste company's permit that the seven acre operation is a half a mile or so from three Aledo schools.

Allmon: TCEQ rules acknowledge the sensitive nature of school and it is important to protect the health and safety of the students at those schools. The traffic impacts of this facility on the land use of these schools in the area was not considered.

But Brent Ryan, with Republic Waste, says truck traffic was considered and calculated carefully.

Ryan: Evidence shows it'll be less than one and a half percent on every one of these roads other than Nu Energy Drive, which is the one that runs right in front of the transfer station. And even then, the transfer station traffic will be less than 5% of the roadway capacity.

Household, commercial and industrial waste will be hauled to the transfer station, sorted, compacted, and trucked out to landfills or other disposal sites.

TCEQ Commissioners eliminated several provisions added to the permit that dealt with traffic and wastewater concerns - saying that's not under the TCEQ's umbrella. Commissioners approved the permit.

Aledo school officials say they are disappointed, and will be discussing any options that may be available with their lawyer.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.