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Trash transfer considered

June 30, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Instead of increasing the amount of garbage that can be accepted at the LCS Services Inc. landfill near Hedgesville, W.Va., officials are proposing that a facility in Jefferson County be used to help dispose of the Eastern Panhandle's trash.

According to the plan, garbage going to LCS would be reduced by diverting some of the garbage to a transfer station along Leetown Pike, said Sen. John Unger, who has been working on the proposal.

At the transfer station, garbage would be loaded onto larger trucks and hauled to a landfill near Richmond, Va., said Unger and another Jefferson County official.

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Officials have been studying other ways of disposing of the area's trash since LCS, which is owned by Waste Management, began hitting its monthly tonnage limit regularly.

LCS can accept a maximum of 9,999 tons of garbage a month and trash has been accumulating in local communities when the landfill hits the limit.

LCS wants to go from a Class B to a Class A landfill, which would allow it to accept 15,000 tons of garbage a month.

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

Unger said he would rather have trash taken to Jefferson County than allow LCS to obtain Class A status.

Like the LCS landfill, the transfer station in Jefferson County can only accept 9,999 tons of garbage a month, said Unger, D-Berkeley. The transfer station, located next to the old Jefferson County Landfill, was established to give Jefferson County residents another location to dispose of unwanted items.

Debris is dumped in containers at the transfer station and transported to another facility.

If the LCS landfill and the transfer station can be used for garbage disposal, the combined tonnage cap for the two facilities would be 19,998 tons, Unger said.

Unger said that should be sufficient for the Eastern Panhandle's trash disposal needs, given the fact that the maximum amount of trash generated by Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties averages about 12,000 tons.

"Of course, as we grow, that number will grow. But this is a pretty good solution," Unger said.

If the plan is approved, improvements would have to be made to the Jefferson County transfer station, such as installing concrete pads in the unloading and loading area, Unger said.

Unger said he would work to secure state funding for such improvements.

If the transfer station is used to help dispose of area garbage, about 24 garbage trucks would be arriving at the Leetown Pike facility daily and about seven tractor-trailers hauling garbage would be departing for the Virginia landfill, said Terry Courtwright, head of the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority.

"It's not a whole lot of traffic," said Courtwright.

The transfer station might be used to handle Jefferson County's garbage and maybe some trash from eastern Berkeley County, Courtwright said. He said he wants to avoid having all the Eastern Panhandle's trash coming to Jefferson County if the LCS landfill reaches its limit.

"We are worried about the impact on the community. We will do everything to minimize that," Courtwright said.

A Waste Management spokeswoman said her company has been working with Jefferson County officials on the proposal. Waste Management is looking at "all our options" to serve local residents, said Lisa Kardell.

The Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority must approve the plan before any waste can be diverted to the Jefferson County transfer station, Unger said.

The Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority plans to discuss the plan at a July 8 meeting, Unger said.

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

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

The landfill hit its 9,999-ton monthly limit for June about a week ago, Unger said. The landfill shut down, but the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered the landfill to remain open through the end of the month so there would not be any interruptions in garbage pick-up service, Unger said.

Department of Environmental Protection officials are prepared to keep the landfill open again in July if the facility hits its limit again during the month, Unger said.

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