Sonoma County's plans to permanently reopen and expand its central landfill cleared a major hurdle Thursday, receiving a go-ahead from North Coast water regulators.
The decision approving a permit for up to 22 more years of operation at the Mecham Road site west of Cotati came from the same state agency that nearly a decade ago raised pollution concerns that triggered a five-year closure of the landfill.
"This thing has gone around the mountain a couple of times," said David Noren, chairman of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. "This puts us on a (new) footing with moving forward, to let the past be the past."
The decision came over the objections of some neighbors, who voiced concerns about groundwater contamination, noise and traffic.
Design plans and requirements called for under the expansion should protect against such impacts, county consultants and water regulators said.