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Article updated: 2/14/2013 10:48 AM

Residents can learn more about proposed waste transfer plan in Round Lake Park

By Mick Zawislak

An application has not been officially submitted but residents can learn more about a proposed garbage transfer station in Round Lake Park at an informational meeting Saturday.

Groot Industries Inc., hosts the session from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Park School, 400 W. Townline Road, Round Lake.

"This is a chance for them to see where the facility is located, what it looks like and what it does," said Devin Moose, director of Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, which is developing the plan for Groot.

The session was prompted by Round Lake officials in advance of the company filing for siting approval to build and operate the facility on about 4 acres at the northeast corner of Route 120 and Porter Drive in Round Lake Park.

"We're trying to educate our residents," said Round Lake Mayor James Dietz. The village has not taken an official stance on the proposal. "The more information they have, the better equipped they are to give their opinion on whether it's good or bad and where it should be located."

Groot, a waste disposal company, has a hauling yard in the industrial area on Porter Drive in Round Lake Park and has received a state permit to operate a construction and demolition debris recycling center nearby.

At a transfer station, garbage is dumped by hauling trucks onto a concrete floor in an enclosed building and loaded onto bigger trucks to be taken to a distant landfill.

Transfer stations are considered regional pollution control facilities and are governed by state statute that require quasi judicial proceedings. A notice of intent to pursue the facility starts the clock ticking but Groot in early December delayed that step.

"It's not filed yet. It's a couple of thousand pages," Moose said.

But the proposal already has become controversial. Some neighboring residents contend they were not initially aware of the transfer station plan. They have been critical of the process and have questioned several aspects of the proposal, such as noise, odors and impact on home value.

Dietz said village residents are being notified of the session by phone and email. He said there could be a good turnout, as about 500 residents responded to a phone poll.

Moose said several information stations will be available at the meeting where attendees can learn why the facility is needed, how it will be designed and operated and what impact it could have on traffic. Attendees also will have the opportunity to comment on the plan.

The proposed facility would be designed to handle 750 tons of nonhazardous material a day. Groot says landfill space is dwindling and there will be a need for more of these types of facilities.

Transfer stations are allowed in Lake County's solid waste plan but are subject to regulations. One requires Groot to enter into a host agreement with Lake County and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County. The parties continue to negotiate.

Another requires the company to complete a "life cycle assessment," which is a projection of the impact of the facility on energy use and the environment compared to using a traditional landfill, according to Walter Willis, executive director of SWALCO.

The assessment has been completed and is on SWALCO's website. A required public meeting on that aspect of the plan is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 6, at the Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center.

Willis said he will attend Saturday's session but SWALCO will have no formal role in the proceedings.

"I will be there to listen and learn," he said.

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