The Future Trash Disposal Will Require Outside funding

The primary discussion held during the March 5th Pocahontas County Commission meeting was about the long-term future of trash collection and disposal once the current landfill has reached its capacity -estimated to be in about 2.5 years.

There were several members of the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority present at the meeting, including the Authority’s Chairman, Ed. Riley, member David McLaughlin, and of course member Jamie Walker, who is also a County Commissioner.

Riley began the discussion by explaining that even though the current landfill will not be filled for 2.5 years or so, that amount of time will be needed to plan for and implement an alternative to disposing of trash in our own landfill.

He explained that the most logical and practical solution is to purchase the landfill, which is now leased, and to build a sophisticated transfer station on that site. Basically, a transfer station is a building and area where trash collected from all over the county can be centrally placed, and then easily loaded into over-the-road trucks and be transported to a nearby county’s landfill. The landfill property can also accommodate the current recycling of tires and white goods, which are appliances such as washers, dryers, and refrigerators.

Riley and Mary Clendenen explained that purchasing the landfill, building and implementing the transfer station and operating it will cost more than the Solid Waste authority can possibly handle on its own, so outside funding will be an absolute necessity. Without significant financial help from the County Commission, any attempt to implement a transfer station would likely fail, even if they drastically raised the fees to the public. Worse yet, if the fees were raised sufficiently to attempt to do this many people will find it so unaffordable, they will likely start dumping trash throughout our beautiful county.

Commission President Walt Helmick agreed that that having a filthy county will not only ruin the quality of life for its residents, but would also discourage people from coming here to live or visit.

Clendenen said the estimated cost of closing and capping the landfill and building the transfer station to be $3,450,000. Even with the $2,688,058 available in their escrow accounts which were created be used to pay those expenses, the authority will still be short by $761,942 for those start-up expenses.

Clendenen said the estimated cost to operate the transfer station and the green boxes will be about $1,273,000 per year. Those costs include operating the transfer station & green boxes, transporting the trash, paying the tipping fees at another landfill, personnel costs, the annual post closure expenses for the current landfill and possible loan interest. Those annual operating expenses will exceed their annual revenues by about-$478.000 per year.

Solid Waste Authority Member David McLaughlin commented that the Authority will need to purchase the current landfill as soon as possible to get moving forward with the new program since there is no better place in the county to put a transfer station.

Jacob Meck added that the solid Waste authority will need to merge the jobs performed by both employees and their equipment to cut down costs as much as possible in order to make the new system work as efficiently as possible. He called it “combining assets,”

Commission President Walt Helmick said that the top three commission priorities are health care, waste disposal and economic development, so the commission should help out with these new waste management costs. He also said the commission is getting close to a decision on buying the current landfill for the Solid Waste Management Authority to use.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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