NABORS Landfill Update

March 21, 2023
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We are asking for your help to stop the sale of  the closed, leaking NABORS Landfill and surrounding property by the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District (OMSWD) to Lakeshore Recycling Systems (LRS), who has the intention of reopening the landfill.

LRS is currently conducting a dye tracing study on the landfill to investigate the groundwater patterns. The study may be completed in May. So far, the LRS representative denies the presence of karst topography or a groundwater problem, saying, ” there doesn’t seem to be anything major here. There’s a small amount of contamination in one little well, but everything else is clear.”

At the January meeting of the OMSWD Board of Directors, members of Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers (Friends) expressed their opposition to the sale. A motion was passed unanimously by the Board to explore alternative solutions to the proposed sale.

The Baxter County elected officials, charged with protecting the health and welfare of the county’s residents, understand the serious nature of the risks posed by reopening a landfill site that was closed by the Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) because of groundwater contamination amid karst topography and the risk of worse contamination were it allowed to continue operations. The engineer’s certification of closure was dated January 13, 2020. The Mountain Home City Council and the Baxter County Quorum Court have passed resolutions opposing the reopening. Most recently, the Baxter County Quorum Court unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting the reopening and building of landfills in Baxter County. However, LRS is proceeding with the landfill purchase and reopening in spite of the Baxter County ordinance

Ongoing management, maintenance and monitoring at the NABORS site is conducted by ADEQ and is funded by the Arkansas Landfill Post Closure Trust Fund. The ADEQ has agreed to thirty years of this strictly regulated closure management.

The sale arrangement struck OMSWD and LRS includes a plan to charge residents of the solid waste district an additional $I tipping fee ($I per ton of waste going into the landfill) that will go to the bondholders of the original failed NABORS landfill. This could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. This arrangement has been proposed despite a circuit court decision overturning (in 2022) the attempt to collect the money by taxing property owners in the bankrupt solid waste district $18 annually. This was an attempt to pay bondholders whose risky investment in the landfill did not pay off.

Friends has retained legal counsel to help with this and our members are working to stay abreast of any developments by LRS and OMSWD to reopen the landfill and to bring transparency to this important issue

You can help by contacting key public officials.