Future of Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Discussed at Special Meeting
At the October 11th Special Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority meeting, part of the agenda was to hold a public meeting about the future of waste disposal in the county. Ed Riley, the Solid Waste Authority Chairman, said that deciding the future of how the authority will operate once the landfill is filled and closed is difficult because they won’t know until the first of January when the Annual Report is completed, exactly how much time the current landfill has until it is filled up. He suggested it could possibly be only 1 to 3 years. Riley laid out three proposals to be considered by the Authority members. Riley said the purpose of discussing the three options at this meeting is to “whittle them down” to one scenario.
- Operate a Transfer Station and keep the Green Boxes operating as they do now. He said this would involve an initial setup of roughly one-million, three hundred and six thousand dollars ($1,306,000) and an annual operating cost of roughly one-million, two-hundred and forty-two thousand, eight hundred and fifty-seven dollars ($1,242,857.) Riley said this is the most expensive of the three options in both set-up and operation.Riley asked if anyone was interested in pursuing this option, and when none of the members spoke up, so he eliminated this as an option.
- Compactor sites only, which has an initial setup cost of roughly one million and eight thousand dollars ($1,008,000) and an annual operating cost of roughly Eight hundred seventy-two thousand, eight hundred and fifty-five dollars ($872,855.) No member expressed an interest in supporting this proposal either, so riley eliminated this proposal from further consideration.
- Green boxes only. Riley said this seems like the proposal we want to develop, but since we may not be using this system for two years, he doesn’t have and figures for it, and wouldn’t want to put it out to bid until then, but he said they should start planning for it. They said this option involves picking up the green boxes and hauling them to the Greenbrier County landfill.
Jacob Meck from Allegheny Disposal asked how a green box only system would tale care of commercial trash.
Riley said in his opinion, we would have to continue to take the appliances and all, crush them with their compactor and haul them to the recycling place and sell them. He said we would have to also crush wooden items like beds, He said the authority would not be serving commercial haulers, towns because that would requite a transfer station.
Meck responded and asked what if a resident remodeled their house, where would they dispose of their construction debris? Meck said green boxes don’t work out well with construction and demolition debris. He said if there is no other system to take care of it, that stuff will end up in the green boxes.
When Meck suggested this would take a service away from the citizens, Riley said:
“We are beyond providing a service to the county. We have to operate as a business. And as a business there is certain things we can’t afford. And, one of those is that we can’t take construction demolition materials (C&D) because they are big and bulky and we can’t use those. We can’t do anything with them.”
Meck said, speaking as a citizen, these small Construction demolition items will end up in our ditches and in our creeks if we don’t provide a way for citizens to dispose of them.
Authority Member David McLaughlin suggested that since they want to keep the tire disposal operation, recycling white goods, and other recycling, maybe they should revisit buying the landfill property, and maybe in the future put a small transfer station there or put a compactor there to do C&D When another member said they tried to buy it unsuccessfully for a year, McLaughlin said they can get enough money from the County Commission to buy it, and it could be bought for $160,000, which includes the cost of fencing it.
Riley said that could be placed on the next meeting agenda and discussed in executive (closed) session. After the meeting, this reporter pointed out to Riley that while actual real estate negotiations can be held in executive session, the discussions leading up to deciding the need to buy a property are subject to the WV Open Meetings Act, and must be held in public since those decisions directly affect the public.