Landfill Expansion


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Riverview Highlands Golf Course Renovations
and Riverview Land Preserve expansion

Executive Summary

The benefits of proceeding with this project are:

Improved flood storage.  The redesigned golf course will store water during rainstorms. We will also move and widen the Frank and Poet Drain corridor, helping to protect upstream residences and businesses from storm water backups that have become more frequent.

Updated and modernized golf course. We will completely redesign and rebuild the southern 18 holes of Highlands which, at 40, no longer provides the amenities today’s golfers want.   The new layout will include new water features and landscaping for a park-like setting.

Wildlife habitat.  Landscaping along the relocated Frank and Poet Drain will screen the RLP and provide wildlife habitat.   

Continued revenue and lower taxes.  The RLP will contribute to the city general fund for at least 12  more years, keeping property taxes low while maintaining the same high level of city services, including  fire, police, and library.

Clean energy.  The new disposal area will generate additional landfill gas. A private company buys it from us and converts it into clean energy.

The process

In June, 2016 the Riverview City Council passed a resolution (host community agreement) agreeing to host the expanded landfill. (The current landfill is composed of seven segments, or cells. The expansion is sometimes referred to as Cell 8.)  In the next step, the city will create a conceptual plan for the development, to include the overall golf course renovations along with the Cell 8 limits and grading, for city council approval.

The city can use the approved conceptual plan to start applying for permits and to develop more detailed plans. The permitting process could take as long as two years.

In addition to the city, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Wayne County Department of Public Services (WCDPS) and the US Army Corps of Engineers must review, comment on and approve the proposed plans before construction can begin.

If everything goes smoothly we could complete the permit process in the second quarter of 2018. Construction could begin on the golf course renovation and relocation of the Frank and Poet drain late that year, followed by the first phase of Cell 8.

Project Considerations

Flood Controls

The redesigned golf course will store storm water in two ways: In the Frank and Poet Drain itself and in the layout and grading of the golf course. The flood storage will reduce the risk of major storm events to residents of Colonial Village, Pheasant Run, The Glens and The Forest neighborhoods.

To add floodplain storage, we will widen the drain corridor and create low areas adjacent to the drain.  As the water level in the drain rises, it will flow into the storage areas, instead of backing up into upstream neighborhoods.  These storage areas will slowly drain out within 24 to 48 hours. The slight inconvenience to golfers will be offset by the benefits to homeowners.  The new drain will also meander through the golf course, adding to existing water hazards, challenging players while providing habitat for wildlife and plants.  

Storm water Controls

Storm water runoff from the landfill itself will most likely collect in two new sedimentation ponds located adjacent to the Frank and Poet Drain, on the landfill property.  Wayne County storm water ordinances require that the ponds filter the runoff and discharge it at a controlled rate into the drain.  The ponds will also contribute to the aesthetics of the landfill/golf course interface, and provide additional wildlife habitat.

The landfill is designed to ensure that only runoff from covered areas is allowed into the ponds and thus into the drain.  During construction and operation, any storm water coming into contact with waste (“leachate”) is carefully controlled and sent to the sanitary sewer.

Aesthetic Impact

Residents of The Forest subdivision will be most affected once construction begins. Residents on Coachwood Road can expect to see and hear construction equipment, the loss of trees and other vegetation and loss of green views for at least one season.  The golf course will salvage as many old-growth trees as possible and add replacement trees.

Construction of the Frank and Poet Drain will take place simultaneous with the golf course renovation.  The course and the drain will be allowed to revegetate and become established before play resumes.

The new portion of the RLP comes last and people really won’t see much of it because of its distance from The Forest and the barrier of the golf course, trees, and the reconfigured drain. As we build it, we’ll cover the exterior slopes with soil and plant grass seed. This is both a regulatory requirement and good environmental management practice.  It will be several years after construction begins before waste placement in the new cell is even visible.

Landfill Gas

We will sell some of the landfill gas generated from Cell 8 to a private company. If there’s more, the city could use it for other natural-gas powered projects, keeping any revenue that results.

Construction of the gas collection system will coincide with the landfill’s construction. The design will also include conceptual plans for an energy project (based on input from the city), as well as backup destructive capacity (flares) if the energy project fails at any time. These systems are highly regulated and the city has an excellent compliance record on the existing RLP.


Leachate is the liquid waste produced as trash decomposes.  It is non-hazardous and generally can be disposed as industrial wastewater, treated at the wastewater plant. It is continuously collected and removed, following strict standards. The base liner for Cell 8 will contain the most current control mechanisms to remove the leachate from the cell and dispose of it. We will coordinate with the wastewater treatment plant during permitting and construction to include the new leachate source in the site’s industrial discharge permit at lowest cost. We screen incoming waste to prevent contamination but still monitor the leachate to ensure compliance with the permit requirements.

Life Span

We estimate Cell 8 will add approximately 15 years (15 million tons) to the Riverview Land Preserve’s capacity, but it could be more if decomposition rates and recycling increase and we improve methods of trash placement and compaction.

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