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Regional Landfill Expansion


Since 1985, the Southeastern Public Service Authority (SPSA) has served as the regional solid waste management authority for the cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, and the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton, all located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. SPSA’s service area is approximately 2,000 square miles and contains nearly 1.2 million residents. SPSA’s waste management system includes the Regional Landfill (Landfill) and nine transfer stations, accompanied by a transportation operation, a fleet maintenance facility, a tire shredder facility, a white goods program, and a household hazardous waste program. SPSA’s Regional Landfill property is comprised of approximately 833 acres; of which 376 acres are within the active facility boundary currently permitted by the VDEQ under Solid Waste Permit No. 417. SPSA currently disposes of the waste materials delivered to either the Wheelabrator Portsmouth waste to energy facility or directly to the Regional Landfill.

In order to be adequately prepared to meet the needs of its member communities it is necessary for SPSA to increase the solid waste disposal capacity at the Regional Landfill by incorporating an additional 129 acres (identified as Cells VIII and IX and support areas for roadway and stormwater management) of the Landfill property within the active facility boundary. The proposed expansion into Cells VIII and IX is part of SPSA’s long-term plan for providing critical disposal capacity for the region and is consistent with the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan (RSWMP) for Southeastern Virginia which identifies the need for future expansion of the active facility.

Why Expand Now?

SPSA operates through Agreements for Use and Support of a Solid Waste Disposal System with its Member Localities. These agreements define the roles and responsibilities of SPSA and the Member Localities in continuing the operations and maintenance of a solid waste disposal system through June 30, 2027 and subsequent 10-year renewal periods. SPSA is required under the Use and Support Agreements to satisfy the waste disposal needs for at least the next 20 years.

Solid waste disposed of at the landfill consists of MSW, construction and demolition debris (CDD), ash for alternative daily cover, and other wastes as well as clean fill. Since 2015, the SPSA Regional Landfill has been utilized for disposal of around 300,000 tons per year and consumed about 350,000 CY per year of disposal airspace. The current contract between SPSA and Wheelabrator Portsmouth is through June 2027, and prior to expiration of the agreement, the SPSA Board of Directors will complete an assessment and determine the most appropriate method of waste disposal. The selected alternative could include disposal of all Member Localities solid waste at the Regional Landfill beginning in July 2027.

If the Regional Landfill were selected as the sole disposal location, the total incoming waste would exceed 400,000 tons annually, resulting in available airspace being consumed at a much higher rate, and remaining capacity in Cells V and VI consumed by October 2027, or sooner. In addition to Cells V & VI, the Regional Landfill includes a permitted 56-acre lateral expansion (Cell VII). The maximum capacity of Cell VII is approximately 10.8 million cubic yards (CY), or approximately 9 million tons of MSW. However, the 10.8 million CY of disposal capacity permitted for Cell VII included connection to and overlap of filling onto Cell V, which would impact infrastructure and is not desirable. SPSA’s construction and operation of a standalone landfill Cell VII would provide an estimated 8.87 million CY of disposal capacity. Cell VII is anticipated to provide capacity for approximately 10 to 15 years, depending on waste volumes and densities achieved during placement. This would mean that Cell VIII could be needed as early as 2036.

This project is needed in order to meet this obligation and to continue to maintain and manage a safe, cost efficient, sanitary and environmentally sound solid waste disposal system for the receipt of the Member Localities solid waste.


Responsible waste management




Master Plan

As part of SPSA Conditional Use Permit application with the City of Suffolk, SPSA prepared and submitted the Master Plan below to identify all future phases of the development at the site. It is anticipated that Cells VIII and IX would provide disposal capacity for the Member Communities through at least the next 30 years. If needed, future development of Cells X, XI and XII could be completed following a similar permitting process. Over the last 30 years the solid waste industry has experienced technological advancements in landfill design and operation, growth in the recyclable materials collection and processing, beneficial use of waste materials to produce compost, energy or fuel, and influences from sustainability programs by municipal governments and private industry. What the next 30 years will require from SPSA in managing the regions waste is to be determined, but SPSA plans to continue to provide a safe and efficient disposal option at the Regional Landfill site.