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More trash a good-news, bad-news thing for landfill

October 05, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A large garbage hauler has been dumping more trash at Washington County's Forty West Landfill, a move county officials said will increase revenue but also might cause the landfill to fill up faster than planned.

"We have to have enough waste to pay the bills, but we don't want too much," county Solid Waste Director Robert Davenport said.

Davenport said Waste Management began increasing the volume of trash it takes to the landfill about three months ago.

County officials have said the garbage dropped off by Waste Management is from Washington County.

Davenport said he could not say how much trash Waste Management typically dumps because he thought it might be proprietary information.

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"It's a lot more than what they had been bringing in," Davenport said. "They've been coming in about every day."

Davenport said landfill employees do spot checks on the garbage brought in by Waste Management and other haulers. Those checks include looking for addresses in the trash, to make sure it comes from Washington County.

County Commissioner John C. Munson and Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said they thought Waste Management's decision to bring more garbage to the landfill was related to the capacity problems at the LCS Services Inc. landfill near Hedgesville, W.Va.

They said the Washington County trash picked up by Waste Management had been going to LCS and to another landfill in Pennsylvania because it costs less for Waste Management to dump there.

Waste Management spokeswoman Lisa Kardell, however, said some of Washington County's garbage had been going to the Mountain View Landfill near Greencastle, Pa., not to the LCS landfill.

Kardell said the company recently made an "internal company decision" to bring more of Washington County's trash to the Forty West Landfill.

She said she didn't know what prompted that decision or whether it would be a long- or short-term move. She said she didn't know how much trash or how often Waste Management dumps garbage at Washington County's landfill.

Munson, who is on the county's Solid Waste Advisory Committee, said that while more trash from Waste Management will mean more money for the county, he's concerned about the landfill's capacity.

When the landfill opened in 2000, county officials said its lifespan would be about 80 to 100 years. Munson said the lifespan is now down to about 60 years.

The county is in the process of opening up a third cell at the landfill because more garbage is being dropped off than was anticipated. The $5.2 million construction of the third cell comes a year earlier than planned.

"It's good because it's more revenue," Munson said of Waste Management's decision. "It's bad because it's filling our dump up quicker than anticipated."

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