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.