St. Cloud City Council unanimously votes to stop treating landfill's 'garbage juice'

Controversy continues over coal ash from Puerto Rico disposed in Osceola County

ST. CLOUD, Fla – In a unanimous decision, St. Cloud City Council voted to stop receiving shipments of leachate, a by-product of landfill waste, in light of Waste Connection of Osceola County accepting coal ash from Puerto Rico. 

For weeks, homeowners have been sounding the alarms, upset over potential health concerns from the shipments of ash from Puerto Rico being brought to their nearby landfill. 

In April, Osceola County commissioners began allowing coal ash from coal-fired power plants in Puerto Rico to be disposed at the J.E.D. landfill. 

The landfill is not located in the city of St. Cloud, but for the past 10 years, the city has processed the water that passes through the landfill, known as leachate or "garbage juice," through the city's transfer station. 

"This is a tough situation," St. Cloud Mayor Nathan Blackwell said. "We didn't create it." 

Residents began voicing their concerns about the leachate once it became clear it would be exposed to coal ash. 

"It's not worth anybody's life," said one concern citizen. 

The contract between the city and Waste Connections was supposed to continue for ten more years, but now that deal is up in the air, after city council decided they would no longer accept leachate from the landfill. 

"For once, they took our concerns and put our health above the dollar," resident Mikala Wells said.  

City leaders  stated the contract was only creating $13,000 of revenue on average each year from Waste Connection. 

It is important to note the city of St. Cloud does send its waste to that landfill. As a result, city leaders said they're preparing for any consequences that could come from this decision. 

We are still awaiting a response from Waste Connection of Osceola County in light of this development. 

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