Residents and elected officials rally to oppose private landfill near Lake Worth

Roughly a thousand Tarrant County residents packed a high school gymnasium Tuesday to oppose a recycling center they say will ruin their quality of life.

They were joined by a handful of local elected officials to demand the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reject a permit application for the proposed facility located just south of Lake Worth in northwest Tarrant County.

Houston-based BAP Kennor Landfill LLC wants to build a 6.6 acre recycle center at 3411 Silver Creek Road, which would process and recycle construction and demolition waste. This includes wood, metal, concrete, yard waste and plastics.

The material will be sorted and stored on-site until there’s enough to be hauled off to be used by other industries, said Frank Pugsley, a member of the architecture firm working on the project.

Hazardous material will either be rejected or loaded into separate dumpsters to be hauled off to a municipal landfill, Pugsley said.

However, these assurances were not enough to assuage residents’ fears about the impact to water quality, including an underground aquifer where most of the residents get their water.

Water contamination will have generational impacts on the residents living there, said Lake Worth Mayor Pro Tem Sherrie Watkins. She asked that BAP Kennor find a site that would have less impact on nearby residents.

Some speakers also expressed fears about the company’s plan to prevent fires from breaking out at the facility.

The road leading up to the site doesn’t have a fire lane to allow for fire trucks to get through and isn’t served by a dedicated fire station, said Katheryn Moore, who helped organize opposition to the facility,

Fires happen at recycle centers all the time, and residents are worried about being exposed to hazardous chemicals or having a fire burn out of control, she said.

Some also expressed concerns about traffic, including a pair of bridges leading up to the site that won’t be able to handle the weight of industrial recycling trucks.

“If this permit is granted, we’re going to be weighing every damn truck that goes across those bridges,” State Rep. Charlie Geren said as the crowd erupted in applause.

The site was approved for a municipal dump in the 1980s, but the area around it has grown up since then, said Tarrant County Commissioner Manny Ramirez.

Ramirez expressed his sympathy for the company representatives, but asked them to bring forth a project that won’t be opposed by thousands of residents.