Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Statewide landfill limit advances, could see buffer amendments

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

Months after a controversial limit on landfill height was instituted in New Castle County, a similar state-wide limit is advancing through the General Assembly. 

New Castle County passed an ordinance limiting the height of landfills to 140 feet above sea level last summer, curtailing proposed expansion of the controversial Delaware Recyclable Products Inc. (DRPI) Landfill in Minquadale. The landfill sued the County over the rule, then settled, leaving the new limit intact. 

Now a similar state-wide limit that passed the House last year has advanced through the State Senate. The state bill originally proposed capping landfills at 130 feet, but is advancing amended to match the county limit. 

The bill now heads back to the House, where sponsor State Rep. Frank Cooke plans to introduce an additional amendment that would require buffers such as trees or netting around landfills. 

Cooke notes his bill would apply to Kent and Sussex Counties, where he says there is more room for new landfills than in New Castle County.

“The whole state and all three counties have to abide by our legislation,” said Cooke. “We’re covered all the way through— from Claymont all the way down to Sussex County and Rehoboth or Dewey— if by chance DRPI wants to go out and get new landfills or go to ones that are not filled yet, and they want to go up with the height.”

Cooke says he is not aware of any current plans to build new landfills in Kent or Sussex County. “We don’t have room up here [in New Castle County]," he said. "So for that reason, [landfills] are going to have to move, I assume, to other counties in the state."

Cooke plans to introduce his amendment in the House next week.


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.
Related Content