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County may ask state for trash relief

June 25, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Berkeley County officials are asking Jefferson County authorities to join them in going to the state level in an attempt to resolve garbage disposal problems in the Eastern Panhandle.

With the Waste Management landfill near Hedgesville, W.Va., hitting its monthly tonnage limit regularly, trash is starting to back up in places in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, officials have said.

The Waste Management landfill along Allensville Road can accept a maximum of 9,999 tons of garbage a month, officials said.

Landfill operators hit that limit often and trash has accumulated in local communities at times, officials said.

Construction debris containers at local developments have been overflowing because they sometimes are not emptied on a regular basis, officials said.

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Trash also has backed 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 in some circumstances, said Terry Courtwright, head of the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority.

The area may be able to resolve some of the garbage disposal issues by seeking assistance from the state Attorney General's office, Jefferson County Commissioner Rusty Morgan said Thursday.

The Attorney General's office may be able to help officials in Jefferson and Berkeley counties find another waste hauling company to help provide service locally, Morgan said.

Seeking help from the Attorney General's office is being considered because the state Public Service Commission controls who provides trash service in the area, Morgan said.

Waste Management is the only garbage hauler in the three Eastern Panhandle counties, Morgan said.

An example of a plan that could be worked out is having a different garbage hauler collect construction debris in the area, Morgan said.

The debris could be hauled to another landfill, such as one in Richmond, Va., said Commissioner Greg Corliss.

"We need a larger view, a regional approach to this. Competition will help everybody," Corliss said.

Morgan said the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority is requesting that the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority join them in seeking help from the Attorney General's office.

Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority officials are considering the request, Morgan said.

Waste Management officials did not immediately return a call Thursday.

Waste Management wants to go from a Class B to a Class A landfill, which would allow it to accept 15,000 tons of garbage at its Hedgesville facility instead of 9,999 tons a month.

Some Hedgesville-area residents are fighting the move, saying that landfill odors, garbage truck traffic and trash debris are already problems in Hedgesville.

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