The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a draft permit on March 16 for Pescadito Environmental Resource Center, a proposed landfill in Webb County.
The proposed site for center is located about 20 miles east of Laredo in Webb County and is owned by Rancho Viejo Waste Management.
The Pescadito Environmental Resource Center will be located within the Yugo Ranch owned by Rancho Viejo Cattle Company and will accommodate a capacity of 223,316,800 cubic yards of materials. The facility will encompass 953 acres of which 660 acres will be used for two Type I municipal solid waste units, and expects to employ up to 45 individuals with full-time job opportunities.
The facility will be permitted to accept ordinary municipal waste, construction debris, brush and other nonhazardous materials. Additionally, the proposed landfill will accept and process recyclable materials.
The future Pescadito Environmental Resource Center site is located in a remote area of the county, which makes it uniquely suited for landfill operation as the site will be established in an isolated area miles away from usable groundwater and residential developments, a news release states.
An investigation of the site, which was submitted to and approved by the TCEQ, revealed the soil is comprised mostly of clays and claystones that have low permeability which prevents the vertical migration of water.
“This landfill will be a state-of-the-art facility built on land that my family has owned for several generations,” said C.Y. Benavides III, one of the Rancho Viejo Waste Management principals. “We have spent more than six years working with notable experts to identify the ideal location for this facility.
“The construction and operation of the facility will he handled with the same level of care and attention to detail.”
Rancho Viejo Waste Management is owned by the family of Carlos Y. Benavides Jr., fifth generation Laredoans who are active in various business endeavors ranging from ranching to energy.
The Pescadito Environmental Resource Center has the potential to serve as a national model for waste management, the news release states. Following best practices in other landfill developments, the center will be built as an integrated facility with public gathering spaces and recreational and educational elements for the public to enjoy.
For the past several years, Rancho Viejo Waste Management has participated in and hosted the Laredo Birding Festival and they look forward to continuing their partnership via PERC with the festival, in addition to collaborating with the local environmental community to create innovative solutions to integrate responsible waste management with the preservation of regional wildlife.
In recent years, the population of Laredo and the South Texas Region has increased significantly, and growth is expected to continue. As the region continues to expand, so will the need for additional solutions for waste disposal.
“Oftentimes, people do not want to talk about waste management,” said Benavides. “But it is a fact of life, especially when a community is growing like ours. We will make sure that waste disposal is accomplished in the best and safest way to ensure our quality of life is not compromised.”
The Rancho Viejo Waste Management filed its initial application in 2011, following two years of preliminary research, tests and evaluations. The in-depth process examined various factors of the land, including soil, geological and hydrological conditions to ensure the site was viable and in the proper conditions to accommodate the landfill.
In addition to adhering to TCEQ guidelines, the proposal was also reviewed by other state and federal agencies, state engineers, geologists and technical review staff to ensure all regulatory requirements were met. TCEQ held a public meeting where community input was gathered and comments and concerns were addressed.
“We have made revisions and adjustments over the past several years in consultation with state and community stakeholders,” said Benavides. “We are confident that this proposal is the best plan to serve the community and its needs for years to come. Our goal is for the facility to not only comply with state and federal regulations, but to serve as an asset to the entire region.”
New public notice has been issued for the facility and the agency will consider a second round of comments before making a final permit decision.
“Rancho Viejo Waste Management hopes to be working to serve South Texas and the surrounding region soon, and we look forward to providing the community with access to a first-class environmental resource center,” said Benavides.