Hamilton dump guy

A man from a Loudoun Rural Landfills video stands in front of a dumping site just east of Hamilton. The site was approved as a "personal recreation field."

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has ruled that there is no evidence of material contamination at the Gable Farm “personal recreation field” east of Hamilton in Loudoun County.

In the meantime, the county is seeking a corrective plan from the property owner to address the stockpile for top dirt and asphalt millings, which are considered for commercial use and violate the approved plan.

The inquiry comes after the 18-acre property originally approved as “personal recreation field," or a polo field, turned into a stockpile, according to the county officials.

Yet, DEQ Land Protection and Revitalization Program Manager Richard Doucette said, “Based on what we saw, we didn’t see anything that would be considered a violation.”

DEQ officials said the fill at the property contains soil, bricks, asphalt, concrete and rocks. Additionally, a nominal amount of woody vegetation, silt fence fabric and a lightweight plastic called polyvinyl chloride was found. Staff did not observe any evidence of contamination such as an oily sheen or chemical odor.

DEQ’s assessment follows a video published at LoudounRuralLandfills.com that was released in late February. The video describes the site as "intrusive, potentially harmful and potentially very lucrative." The creators questioned the land use approval and whether there could be similar issues at other sites if the county doesn't adopt stronger regulations.

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Loudoun Rural Landfill from Loudoun Rural Landfills on Vimeo.

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Residents in the area have questioned the height, volume and contents dumped on the “personal recreational field.” They have also voiced concerns about the surface and ground water quality at the farm.

“I’m not particularly pleased with what DEQ said, but it’s not my call,” Town of Hamilton Mayor David Simpson said, adding that one of the areas he and his citizens are concerned with is the amount of asphalt and the water leaking from the site.

County officials sent the property owner at least two violation notices in 2017 and 2018 and told him to discontinue all activities until corrections were addressed. 

Catoctin District Supervisor Geary Higgins (R), who represents the area, said at Tuesday’s board meeting he had not seen the DEQ memo, but the case “has not gone unnoticed.”

Higgins said he and board colleagues attempted to address similar cases in previous years by revising county regulations.

Gable Farm filed its recreation field application in October 2015.

“If this application had been in after the regulations were changed this would not have happened, and this is why we changed the regulations,” Higgins said.

Loudoun County Public Affairs and Communications Officer Glen Barbour said the county is still waiting on a revised plan from the property owner, James Gable, to address the stockpile. The plan is to include high and low spots that will be cut or filled; total amount of dirt to be taken from the site; narrative stating where the fill will be taken; and seal and signature of a licensed professional engineer.

County officials said failure to conform with permit approvals will result in additional actions, including potential legal action.

Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D) said the Board of Supervisors needs "to commit to updating our zoning ordinances" to address concerns.

(9) comments

ace10

So the DEQ "inspected" this DUMP by visual examination only, and gave it their blessing? Meanwhile, if Joe Homeowner is suspected of accidentally spilling a few tablespoons of used motor oil, they can look forward to a colonoscopy from DEQ. What a joke. This DUMP is layer upon layer upon layer deep. Withing digging, and taking, you know, actual samples there's no way of knowing what has been dumped there.

Concerned

Time after time, the county has "applicants" use their stooges for engineering and surveying work, part of the good ole boy network. They do the dirty work for the county, while the county hides behind their licenses. It is one of the county's bag of tricks.

WesternSky

One more reason to Vote for Caleb Kershner.

I would like to have the DEQ, or the county, actually test the dump vs. smell it.

LoudounClear

Why on earth would this make you vote for Caleb Kershner? He's said nothing about this, pals around with Randy Minchew, a hired gun for developers, and gives no indication of shaking up anything about how business is done in Loudoun County.

Concerned

There is no way anyone that is Minchew's pal should be elected to represent the people. If Minchew wants to run the county through his puppets, at least he should have the cahoonas to run for a COUNTY slot. He is another Slick-Willy that we are wise to. I will gladly vote for a Democrat over these swamp creatures.

MAGA Morons Are Governing America

For goodness sake, Home Schooler lawyer Kershner lives in Hamilton and the entire time this has been going on he's said nothing. Maybe Mike Farris hasn't "blessed" this as an issue for Caleb yet.

Concerned

I would like to know which developer-attorney is bending Higgins ear on this one. He is a phony "preservationist" that refuses to demand that the letter of the law is imposed. Glad to see folks are calling him out on his double-speak and lack of candor.

“If this application had been in after the regulations were changed this would not have happened, and this is why we changed the regulations,” Higgins said. Sounds to me like Geary Higgins, friend of developers, is ready to tell Hamilton, tough, we're going to have to grandfather this abomination in because it was legal when the applicant lied to us about what he was doing. So glad this sad excuse for a supervisor is retiring to try to become the next Dick Black...

BobP

This is yet another example of DEQ failing to do its job and the BOS making bogus excuses.

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