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Residents protest landfill limit increase request

June 16, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Saying that landfill odors, garbage truck traffic and trash debris are already problems in Hedgesville, W.Va., local residents at a public hearing Tuesday night spoke out against a proposal to allow a Hedgesville area landfill to increase the amount of garbage it accepts every month.

A representative of the Waste Management-LCS Services Inc. landfill said the facility needs to increase its monthly tonnage limit to meet the needs of the region.

Waste Management wants permission to go from a Class B to a Class A landfill, a move that would allow it to accept 15,000 tons of garbage a month rather than 9,999 tons, local officials said.

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To become a Class A landfill, Waste Management must have permission for the conversion through the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority, a local agency that deals with trash disposal issues.

In the agency's Commercial Solid Waste Facility Siting Plan, which determines areas of the county that are appropriate for a landfill, it is recommended that a Class A designation not be given to the Waste Management landfill, which is off Allensville Road near Hedgesville.

As part of the Commercial Solid Waste Facility Siting Plan, the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority was required to hold a public hearing on the document. That was done Tuesday night at the Berkeley County Courthouse.

About 100 people attended the hearing, and speaker after speaker raised concerns about the landfill taking in more garbage.

"Quit dumping on the residents of Hedgesville," said Hedgesville resident Faith Hall, the first person to speak.

Lavonne Paden of Martinsburg said the landfill should never have been built. In most rapidly growing communities, trash is taken to "transfer stations," where it is stored temporarily before being taken to landfills in more rural areas, Paden said.

When someone spoke in favor of letting the landfill increase its tonnage limit, people in the audience booed and made remarks.

When Waste Management representative Tim Webb spoke, people in the audience interrupted him.

Webb said the tonnage increase is needed to ensure garbage pickup services to local residents. Webb said the service is like any other utility people need, such as water or electric service.

"How about going home now. We don't want you," one man in the audience said.

Saying he did not want to get involved in the monthly tonnage limit debate, Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin said he wants to see the Solid Waste Authority and Waste Management get together and work out an agreement.

There have been interruptions in garbage pick-up service in Martinsburg because of the landfill periodically reaching its monthly tonnage limit, Baldwin said.

That creates a hardship on the city and may pose a health concern because garbage sometimes sits in city garbage trucks for several days, Baldwin said.

Among the Solid Waste Authority's reasons for denying the monthly tonnage limit increase for the landfill was the "stagnation of new homes and possibly even the deterioration of the Allensville Road community."

That is in contrast to the vigorous residential housing developing occurring in other parts of the county, the Solid Waste Authority said in a report.

The Solid Waste Authority will continue taking written comments on its siting plan for another 10 days, authority Chairman Clint Hogbin said at the hearing.

Then the Solid Waste Authority will issue a final version of the plan, Hogbin said.

Although Waste Management cannot convert its facility to a Class A landfill without permission through the siting plan, it can appeal through a Circuit Court, Hogbin said.

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