Environment Escambia County

Rolling Hills landfill may be in violation of county permit

June 16, 2014


Two weeks ago, residents from the Wedgewood and Longleaf communities spoke out at a Escambia Board of County Commission meeting against the numerous construction and demolition debris facilities in their area.

What county staff failed to tell citizens and the commissioners was that at least one of the facilities may be in violation of its county permit.

Commissioner Lumon May met with constituents on Tuesday, June 10 at the Marie Young Community Center, which is built on the site of the old Wedgewood Middle School and located next to the Rolling Hills C&D Recycling Center. He listened to residents complain about the dust and fumes coming from the facility.

A debris mound at Rolling Hills towers over the neighborhood. As a bulldozer worked on the mound, clouds of dust drifted off the property onto surrounding houses, streets, baseball fields, basketball courts and playgrounds. The smell was overpowering at times.

Escambia County has the means to make South Palafox Properties, LLC, the owner of Rolling Hills, operate safer and be a better neighbor to the residents. The permit that the BCC approved in February had 16 specific conditions under which Rolling Hills must operate:

“Footprint setback shall be a minimum of 500 feet from the property boundary…”

–The debris mountain appears to be less than 500 feet from the property line next to the Wedgewood community center land and a nearby residence.

“At no time shall the working or operational height exceed the permitted height or be visible from beyond the property line…”

–Photos should that the debris mountain is clear visible from the community center that is over 100 yards away from it.

Active dust suppression is required to prevent dust migration off site.”

–Dust clouds were visible on June 10. Residents said that wasn’t uncommon.

No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the discharge in the air of dust, fumes, gas, mist, odor, smoke or vapor, or any combination thereof, so as to constitute a nuisance as defined in county ordinance 2006-24…”

–Residents have voiced complaints at several BCC meetings

The Independent News called Commissioner May Sunday night. He was shocked to hear that Rolling Hills may be in violation of its permit and that county staff never mentioned it to him or his fellow commissioners.

“The people in Wedgewood have been suffering for years, and the county has done nothing but renew Rolling Hills’ permit every year,” said May. “I am stunned. I will be having a heated discussion with staff on Monday morning. “

He said, “What the good are our ordinances if county staff won’t enforce them?”

The Independent News has put in a public record request for any inspection reports that the Escambia County Solid Waste Management Department may have on Rolling Hills.

Here is the copy of the permit: 5632_Rolling Hills CD Permit 2-2014 to 2-2015.

Photos which are quite a contrast from its website:


























Here is a FDEP photo from March 2011 that shows the lack of a dust suppression system three years ago:

Dust 03-17-2011

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  • BillyBob June 18, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    So now that we’ve had two days of comments, I guess we move on?
    Rick, who owns and operated Rolling Hills Landfill C and D pit for South Palafox LLC? Surly an investigative reporter of your caliber already has that nailed down, lol
    Heres a good place to start searching…..
    Just use the search bar..
    Pretty interesting businessman I’ll bet.

  • jeeperman June 17, 2014 at 10:30 am

    This problem is going to go the same way as the Saufley Field C & D pit went.
    i.e. the owners of all landfills (no matter what type) will walk away scott free when they can not operate the way THEY want to operate.
    Which is without any rules.
    The total lack of any oversight of landfill compliance by the county and the State of Florida at Saufley Field landfill showed all other landfill operators that they have nothing to fear.
    Just walk away when the heat gets to high.
    No fines and no jail time, etc.
    Nothing, NADA.

  • Ames June 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    William, when you say “start pumping runoff directly into the water table”, what kind of runoff are you talking about? Storm water runoff? And when you say “water table” would that be an aquifer?
    I know that at one point in time a Mr. Somebody in SR county was mining quartz sand and selling it to Japan. Same man?

  • William June 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    It is funny how everyone here is trying to focus attention on Rolling Hills when the point of all of this is controversy is Long Leaf. I get it though. You have a billion dollar company in Waste Management trying to re-open 150 feet from Green Fill Dirt’s white sand mine.

    For those of you who don’t know, white (beach) sand in mined by digging into the water table and stripping out the white sand that normally filters out impurities and the county is poised to renew the permit of a facility that will be primed and ready to start pumping runoff directly into the water table thereby passing up any hope of preventing any pollution.

    But, hey lets make sure we keep our eyes on the important stuff. This is distraction politics at it’s finest.

    • Rick Outzen June 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Visit the Marie Young Community Center. I think you will see how much a problem Rolling Hills is and has been. The BCC is looking at Long Leaf permit, Wedgewood residents are staring at and breathing fumes from Rolling Hills. Both deserve attention, but the Rolling Hills is the one operating now.

  • BillyBob June 16, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Commissioner May has said more than once hes in the construction business….good to know he takes all his debris to the County Landfill instead of right in his district…..

  • BillyBob June 16, 2014 at 9:02 am

    What is even more funny is Commissioner May signed a permit renewal for a C and D pit that has been permitted in his district since 2007 and now he’s all surprised.

    • Rick Outzen June 16, 2014 at 9:07 am

      I was, too. I didn’t find the regulations until I began my research over the weekend. BTW May has only been in office about 18 months.

  • BillyBob June 16, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Now lets put some faces with South Palafox Properties, LLC, which is upstairs from Jacos Restaurant at 997 South Palafox St 2nd Floor

    How about Northwest Florida Prosperity (uses the same address) a PAC or Citizens for Public Safety who gave almost 20K to that NWFL Prosperity in the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014…….

    Why does everyone act so surprised………this is Pensacola

  • Ames June 16, 2014 at 8:26 am

    But they can’t make any money if they have rul…uh, regulations, Rick. Longleaf and Wedgewood should just cut to the chase and file suit against the county.

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