Controversy erupted at the Cherokee County Commission meeting over a construction and demolition landfill in Cherokee County near the Missiouri border.
The landfill, purchased by Mission Construction, which is owned by Michael Beachner, has been operating under the original permit from it's previous owner Brumback and Atkinson Construction.
The permit transfer has been under review for months and area residents are up in arms over what they perceive as failure of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to enforce it's own regulations.
Sue Drennan, who lives across the street from the landfill at NE 100th and Wyandotte Roads said Brumback had originally filed to close the landfill and that paperwork sat for months or years without being approved.
Now, she says, Beachner is operating the landfill with few restrictions and with repeated violations of KDHE regulations.
KDHE Bureau of Waste Management Engineer Charley Bowers said the landfill is currently operating with permission of KDHE on the original five acres which had been permitted for use and the increased volume the landfill has seen was allowed under KDHE regulations for emergencies.
Mission Construction purchased the landfill, which at the time had been in the process of closing, in the wake of the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado which struck Joplin, Mo.
Bowers said paperwork for expansion and for the transfer to Mission is still under review, months later.
Drennan took exception to the length of time the paperwork is taking and what she calls a "pattern of violations."
"Think that all this came from a lack of enforcement," Drennan said. "There is a pattern of they get a violation then they say 'we'll do better' and then they get another violation."
Drennan had filed a Kansas Open Records Act request which she said yielded records of KDHE failing to enforce their own regulations on the landfill -- including permitting fees.
She asked Bowers why KDHE hadn't enforced permitting fees with Brumback.
He responded "I'm not prepared to answer that."
She then asked what resident's recourse was beyond simply talking to Bowers, who works out of KDHE's Chanute office and got essentially the same response.
"I'm not prepared to comment about your course of recourse," he said.
Drennan then pointed out KDHE was aware of opposition to the landfill by county residents.
"You knew what the feeling of the county was, and what was the feeling of the county commissioners," she said.
"We were tasked to work with the (Army) Corps of Engineers on disposal of tornado debris," he said.
When asked who so tasked them Bowers stumbled saying "it was my understanding" and then trailing off before saying he didn't know and that there were no instructions in writing tasking KDHE to assist the Corps of Engineers.
Drennan admits she would like to see the landfill closed but is as much upset by what she perceives as a lack of enforcement by KDHE.
"My problem is I live across from a landfill that never should have happened if everything had been done right," she said.
Little was settled, but Cherokee County Environmental Director Carl Hayes was asked to collect questions in writing from Drennan to be submitted to KDHE.