Landfill reaching its monthly trash limit regularly

May 21, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - With the Waste Management landfill near Hedgesville, W.Va., hitting its monthly tonnage limit regularly, trash is starting to back up in places in Jefferson County, county officials said Thursday.

The Waste Management landfill along Allensville Road can accept a maximum of 9,999 tons of garbage a month, said Terry Courtwright, head of the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority.

Landfill operators hit that limit often and trash is starting to accumulate at areas throughout the county, officials said in a Jefferson County Commissioners meeting Thursday morning.


Some of the concerns outlined Thursday:

  • Construction debris where new homes are being built is starting to back up, said County Commissioner Greg Corliss.

  • Dumpsters containing construction debris in the Cress Creek development near Shepherdstown, W.Va., are overflowing and developers have been told the containers cannot be dumped until next month, Corliss said.

  • Trash is backing up at Charles Town Races & Slots because Waste Management has not been able to get to the track for pickups as regularly as it would like, Courtwright said.

"It's analogous to a flood," said Courtwright, adding that officials in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Berkeley County, where residents also use the facility, are probably feeling the pinch of limited landfill space, too.

Waste Management has been shipping some of the area's waste to landfills in Maryland and Upton, Pa., in Franklin County in an attempt of offset the stream of trash going into the landfill near Hedgesville, Courtwright said.

The commissioners and Courtwright mentioned several solutions to the problem, such as establishment of a Class D landfill, which is used to dispose of construction debris.

The Waste Management landfill near Hedgesville is a Class B landfill, a designation that carries the 9,999-ton-a-month limit, Courtwright said. Landfill officials are attempting to have the landfill classified as a Class A landfill, which would allow it to increase its monthly tonnage limit by 10 percent every two years, Courtwright said.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan said dumping trash in landfills is a practice that needs to be re-examined, adding that other ways of dealing with garbage such as increased recycling efforts or incineration probably will have to be considered.

"I don't think we're in a crisis, but we're certainly in a crunch," Corliss said.

Waste Management officials could not be reached for comment.

An answering machine announcement at the landfill office on Thursday said there also is a state mandated daily tonnage limit at the landfill. If the landfill hits that limit, the landfill closes early that day, the announcement said.

Courtwright said a public meeting has been scheduled for June 3 at 1 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room of the Charles Town Library to discuss the situation. Courtwright said he hopes representatives from the state Division of Environmental Protection, state Public Service Commission, Waste Management and local lawmakers will come to the meeting.

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