Mat-Su

Mat-Su bans private landfills around Palmer and Wasilla

PALMER — Private landfills are no longer legal in the most densely populated parts of Mat-Su outside its cities.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly on Tuesday approved a ban on landfills including construction and demolition debris dumps known as monofills. The ban covers the borough's so-called "core area" — a 91-square-mile unincorporated territory of about 25,000 residents between Palmer and Wasilla.

The move came after a yearslong battle between an Anchorage company and residents who opposed plans to landfill shredded building and demolition debris, including asbestos, in an old gravel pit at Mile 38 of the Glenn Highway near the Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area.

The company, Central Monofill Services Inc., late last year withdrew an application for a permit it needed.

[Company withdraws permit application for contentious Palmer monofill]

Supporters say the ban protects water quality, guards against blowing garbage and encourages the area's pursuit of tourism.

"I think it makes sense where we're at as a borough to do this," Assemblyman Matthew Beck, the Palmer representative who sponsored the legislation, said before the vote Tuesday.

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The ban passed without objection to whoops and applause from community members in the audience who testified in favor of it.

There are no pending applications for landfills, according to borough development services manager Alex Strawn.

Beck and others have been asking for the ban for quite a while, Strawn said in an interview Wednesday.

"I think the community really wanted the assurance that there isn't going to be another situation where it's even an option," he said. "It's just an outright prohibited thing."

Central Monofill still owns the roughly 120-acre property where the contentious debris dump was planned. A company representative couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Zaz Hollander

Longtime ADN reporter Zaz Hollander is based in the Mat-Su and is currently focused on coverage of the coronavirus in Alaska. She also covers the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com.

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