Almost monthly for the past year, investigators monitoring the Keene Road landfill in South Apopka have found garbage that wasn't supposed to be there. In September they found tires, batteries and a drum of paint. In October they spotted household items, mostly bags of clothes and an old rug. In December they found more tires, batteries and household garbage that looked like it had been doused with red paint -- or blood.
Each episode was documented and investigators made the landfill haul the garbage to another site. Keene Road is supposed to collect only construction-type refuse like wood and cinder blocks.
So it came as a shock to Francina Boykin, who lives in a neighborhood near Keene Road, that oversight of the landfill was changing from the county to the city of Apopka as part of a city annexation ordinance.
Boykin thinks Apopka's staff isn't qualified to determine what kind of garbage Keene Road should be accepting. "Why would Apopka annex a landfill," she asks, "when they know they have nobody out here to monitor it?"
Apopka city administrator Richard Anderson agrees Apopka is unprepared to monitor the landfill. The city has yet to send its engineers for additional training, he says. But in the interim, Apopka has contracted with Camp Dresser & McKee, the same environmental consulting company that has monitored the landfill for years. "We feel absolutely comfortable with them," Anderson says.
He adds that Apopka annexed the landfill to better monitor it so that it wouldn't become a huge pile of garbage. It's too soon to tell, he says, whether the city has been derelict in its responsibilities.
"We feel we're getting shot at a little early here," he says. "We never permitted the landfill in the first place. We're the beneficiaries of that. It is our belief that we will be better informed on what is going on out there. We're not going to do anything that doesn't protect the environment to the fullest extent of the law."