Arbor Hills Expansion

The Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee  was formed to amend the county’s solid waste plan in response to  Advanced Disposal’s request to expand Arbor Hills Landfill. Even now that Advanced has paused its expansion plans the committee is still submitting an update that must be approved by the county.

View drone footage of new and existing dump areas

On February 9, 2015 Advanced Disposal, owner of the Arbor Hills landfill, requested by letter to Washtenaw County’s Water Resource Commissioner’s Office an amendment to the solid waste plan. Advanced Disposal wants to expand its existing footprint even though it currently has enough airspace for 17 years of capacity, according to Washtenaw County. Learn more

During a public meeting on Oct. 24, 2016, Kelly Rooney, regional manager of Advanced Disposal, assured local residents that Advanced will expand but she would not disclose timing.

Solid waste plan amendment details

The 2015-16 Solid Waste Plan Amendment request by Advanced Disposal to expand the existing footprint of the Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township provided an opportunity for Washtenaw County to update goals and objectives of solid waste management and to review the request by Advanced Disposal. The amendment will be brought before all municipalities for approval. A Solid Waste Planning Committee has been created as designated under state law.

For more information about the Washtenaw County Solid Waste Management Plan, contact Jeff Krcmarik at (734) 222-6865.

Here are some more process details regarding the proposed expansion provided by Dan Smith, Washtenaw County Commissioner. Contact him at (734) 449-2985 or

First, Advanced Disposal is required to provide written notice to the county of intent to expand (which they have done).  No specifics are required at the time of the request.  The request triggers an update to the county-wide Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), a process laid out by state statute and Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality rules.

County staff have met with MDEQ regulatory personnel, the required Solid Waste Planning Committee has been appointed by the County Board of Commissioners and my staff is providing support. A consultant was recently hired to lead the process. The content will take the better part of this year, then 2/3 of the municipalities will need to support the plan.  The planning process will consider all aspects of solid waste planning in the county and establish measurable goals.  Siting of facilities will only be one component of many.

Once a solid waste plan is approved, Advanced (or any other service provider) would then apply to MDEQ with a design plan for a specific location that must fall within an area identified in the plan for the proposed type of facility. There is no obligation by Advanced or MDEQ to submit these plans to the county, but typically we are provided with information we request if it is available, without filing a FOIA.

We would request to be copied on correspondence throughout this MDEQ process and receive a final copy of the approved plans.  The office of the Water Resources Commissioner does not have regulatory authority or complete technical expertise in landfill design and management but would plan to participate in public process and raise relevant concerns or questions based on our general knowledge and experience.

A committee is updating the Solid Waste Management Plan; (Salem Twp.) Supervisor Gary Whittaker is a member as is Dave Rettell from Advanced Disposal.

Jeffrey Krcmarik, Washtenaw County’s Designated Planning Agency contact , added this information: Sixty seven percent of the 28 units of local government in Washtenaw County need to vote yes to approve it. Townships and cities would need to vote to approve or disapprove. The schedule and timing for those votes will not be determined until a draft plan is created, which will likely be in the fall.

List of all committee members with email addresses.

Washtenaw County last prepared an update to its Solid Waste Management Plan in 2000, as required by Part 115 of the National Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended (Act 451). The planning process spanned over two years and involved a broad base of stakeholders representing cities, townships, environmental groups, regional planning agencies, waste industries and the general public. Here’s an overview of the planning and approval process:

  • October 22, 1997: Fourteen-member Solid Waste Planning Committee appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
  • August 10, 1999: Draft Plan Update released for 90 day public comment period.
  • October 19, 1999: Public hearing held on draft plan.
  • November 9, 1999: End of public comment period.
  • April 12, 2000: Plan approved by the Solid Waste Planning Committee.
  • April 14, 2000: Plan approved by the Board of Public Works.
  • May 3, 2000: Plan approved by the Board of Commissioners.
  • May 22, 2000: Plan submitted to all local municipalities for review.
  • October 20, 2000: Plan submitted to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for final approval.
  • October 19, 2001: Plan receives final approval by the State of Michigan and is now the official Solid Waste Management Plan for the county.

Note from Gov. Snyder’s office

The governor’s office sent the email below confirming the process.

Thank you for your March 2, 2016, e-mail to Governor Rick Snyder regarding odor issues from the Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. in Salem, Michigan and a proposed expansion of that facility. Governor Snyder has referred your e-mail to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for response.

Since Scott Miller of the DEQ Air Quality Division has already provided information to you regarding the odor issues at Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc., I will address your concern over the proposed expansion.

Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. has not applied for an expansion permit with the DEQ. The company has started preliminary discussions with Salem Township and Washtenaw County regarding a proposal to expand the landfill operation north of Six Mile Road in the area currently used for composting operations. These discussions are between the landfill company, the host community, and the county.

The landfill is regulated by the DEQ pursuant to Part 115, Solid Waste Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. Under Part 115, each county must develop a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). Any proposed landfill expansion must first be determined to be consistent with the SWMP prior to an application being made to the DEQ.

Washtenaw County is currently in the process of amending its entire SWMP as well as to allow for an expansion at Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. The process for amending the SWMP does include an opportunity for public input. You may contact Mr. Jeffrey Krcmarik, Washtenaw County’s Designated Planning Agency contact for the amendment at 734-222-6865 or to request to be added in the Solid Waste Management Planning Committee (SWMPC) notifications throughout the process. The SWMP approval process allows for public input during each of the SWMPC meetings, 90-day public comment, and public hearing, Board of Commissioners approval meeting, during the 67 percent municipal approval process and during the final DEQ approval.

Once Washtenaw County amends their SWMP to include this landfill expansion then the facility would be able to apply for a construction permit with the DEQ. At that time the DEQ will offer a public meeting and or public hearing to answer questions and address public concerns before a decision is made on permitting the landfill expansion.

We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact Mr. Lawrence Bean at 517-416-4375, or e-mail, or you may contact me.

Steve Sliver, Acting Office Chief
Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection

Leave a Reply

Our mission is to improve the environment by working with neighbors, government entities, area businesses and community leaders to create a clean and safe place to live and work.