The Livingston Parish Council moved one step closer to allowing voters to decide on term limits for the parish president and council members, allowing Waste Management to dispose of liquid wastes in injection wells, and adopting new regulations on pit mining operations.

And the public can weigh in on all three proposals at public hearings all set for May 12.

If the council approves a proposed ordinance to limit the council members and parish president to three consecutive terms, the issue would be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Also on Thursday, the council, on a split vote, introduced a proposed agreement with Waste Management of Louisiana LLC relative to the Woodside Landfill.

While the proposed ordinance as read at the meeting does not spell out the terms of the amended agreement, several audience members queried the council about the provisions, which would allow for the disposal of liquid wastes in a deep injection well.

“I did my research, and what Waste Management is asking for is to put all kinds of chemicals into the ground through that injection well,” said Wayne Breaud, who said he lives in the vicinity of the landfill. “We already have problems in that area, and nine people have died of cancer who live in that area. I personally don’t drink the water anymore, and an injection well is going to make the situation worse.”

O’Neal Couvillion complained that the proposed ordinance does not state what will be put into the injection well nor how the materials will be monitored.

“Woodside Landfill is going to close down one day, and the parish will be left to clean up after them,” Couvillion said. “No matter what they put in that hole it will be bad.”

Talbert said he was going to abstain because his company sells fuel to Waste Management. However, he did note that Woodside already has a permit to release Class 1 liquids into surface drainage systems and that both the Class 1 and Class 2 liquids proposed for the injection well would be pretreated and of no threat.

Talbert said he would prefer to see the two classes of waste water injected deep into the earth rather than released into surface drainage systems. He said the state Department of Natural Resources will monitor the operation.

Girlinghouse voted against the introduction, Talbert abstained and council members John Wascom, R.C. Harris, Jeff Averette, Tab Lobell, Shane Mack and Maurice Keen voted in favor.

The council also set for public hearing a proposal regulating the mining of gravel, sand, dirt and other aggregates.

Mack, who chairs the ordinance committee, said the new proposals would address the broad scope of how mining and excavation activities are conducted, would call for a wide setback from a pit operation to a residence from 125 to 200 feet, would redefine the size and location of protective berms around pits, and redefine the hours a commercial pit can operate. The proposal calls for operators to begin loading trucks at 2:30 a.m. and for all activities at pits to cease at 4:30 p.m.

With the three public hearings set for May 12, Wascom quipped: “This is going to be a long meeting. Bring a lunch.”

Editor’s note: The article was changed to say Woodside has a permit to release only Class 1 liquids and to say the Department of Natural Resources will monitor the operation.