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Minquadale-area landfill can expand under new DNREC permit modification

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

The controversial Delaware Recyclable Products Inc. landfill near New Castle has gotten approval from state environmental regulators to expand vertically. 

The Delaware Recyclable Products Inc. (DRPI) landfill’s desire to expand in a residential area along Route 13 was the subject of heated debate last year before county- and state-level committees, boards and councils.  Both New Castle County Council and the state's General Assembly passed legislation limiting the height of landfills — and curtailing the DRPI landfill’s bid for expansion. 

But within the bounds of zoning, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) holds the keys to the landfill’s growth.

Earlier this month the agency granted the landfill operated by Waste Management a permit modification to expand from its current maximum height of 130 feet above sea level to 140 feet.

Environmental advocates and a local water utility had raised concerns about the landfill’s potential impact on groundwater — which landfill operators disputed.

DNREC records show the landfill has violated its permitted air emissions limits for extended periods of time. 

"We are thankful that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control approved our vertical expansion which will allow us to continue providing an essential regional service," said John Hambrose, a spokesperson for Waste Management, in an email. 

He estimates the new height limit will allow the landfill to continue to operate for two years, but notes this "service life" will depend on the volume of waste that comes into the landfill.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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