Arkadelphia News

County landfill could take industrial waste with permit change

By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian

Clark County justices of the peace aren’t wasting much time talking about waste.

Justices appeared to be on board Monday with adding a new landfill cell and accepting industrial waste at the Joan landfill.

The landfill in Joan isn’t where county residents’ household garbage is taken. Solid waste, even for rural Clark County customers, is taken to the Arkadelphia Sanitation Department, where it is compacted and transported to a landfill in Saline County. The county pays the city for that service at a cost-per-ton rate.

The Joan landfill was originally permitted in 1972 and operated as a general municipal landfill until 1989, when a closure plan was implemented. It closed as a Class 1 landfill in 1994 and became a Class 4 landfill.

A satellite image of the Clark County landfill in Joan. | Google Maps

Types of waste currently accepted at the Joan landfill include construction and demolition wastes, appliances, furniture, stumps, limbs and other bulky wastes that are not normally collected with other household, commercial or industrial waste.


At Monday’s quorum court meeting, County Judge Troy Tucker said the county has asked the state Department of Environmental Quality for a permit modification that would allow “some” Class 3 industrial waste from local industries; Tucker did not specify which companies would participate in offloading waste in Joan. Types of waste accepted at a Class 3 include nonhazardous commercial, industrial and special solid wastes permitted by ADEQ. The landfill would still maintain its Class 4 status.

“We are anticipating that will happen,” Tucker said of the permit modification. “If it does, we will be building a new cell at our landfill.” Regardless of the permit modification, Tucker was adamant that some of the current cells will have to be “closed out,” meaning adding layers of clay on them for continued use.

The exact cost to close out the cells is unknown, but a June 2021 estimate to close out a 10-acre cell was more than $600,000, the judge said, adding he expects that price to be higher now.

Owen Carpenter, an engineer with the Hot Springs-based Terracon Consultants Inc., was present at Monday’s quorum court meeting to answer questions from justices.


District 10 JP Wayne Baumgardner asked for clarification on the difference between landfill classifications. Carpenter reiterated that the landfill would not change classification but would accept “some” waste from industries if ADEQ allows it. “We won’t have to do a lot of extra steps if we do it that way,” Carpenter said. 

Baumgardner also inquired of the acreage that is in need of being closed. Carpenter replied that “roughly” 23 acres of the landfill need to be closed, and that once a new cell is added the overall expansion would tally 31 acres, a “sizable project.”

Addressing Tucker, outgoing District 1 JP Austin King asked for a timetable on the project once a bid is accepted. Tucker replied that the bidding process has begun, and a qualifying contractor could be selected as early as November. The project to close out cells would begin once justices appropriate the funding, Tucker added.

To close out cells and open another in the near future, Tucker recommended justices use a portion of the county’s American Rescue Act funds — of which roughly $4 million remains — rather than using funds from some of the county’s certificates of deposit.

Tucker warned justices that the landfill will continue to be an issue for the county. “There will be some quorum court members and judges in the future that will have to continue to deal with this problem,” he said. “As these cells fill up, you have to close them.”

There was no action taken during Monday’s meeting.