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Garbage collection facility to take load from W.Va. landfill

November 18, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A local waste-hauling company announced Thursday it will build a $1.4 million garbage collection facility in Jefferson County aimed at helping alleviate problems with the Waste Management-owned LCS Services Inc. landfill in Hedgesville hitting its monthly tonnage limit, officials said.

Referred to as a waste transfer station, the facility will be built next to the old Jefferson County Landfill on Jefferson Orchard Road near Leetown, W.Va., according to a press release from Waste Management of West Virginia.

Officials from Waste Management, which will build and fund the project, said garbage will be brought to an 8,000-square-foot building at the site and then transferred to a landfill.

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The LCS Services Inc. landfill has a 9,999-ton monthly limit, which it usually hits every month, Waste Management spokeswoman Lisa Kardell said.

Last month, the landfill was closed for several days because of the tonnage limit, resulting in disruptions in service, Kardell said.

Three times last year, the state Bureau for Public Health declared uncollected trash a threat to public health, allowing the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a waiver and reopen the dump. When the transfer station opens and the landfill begins to hit its tonnage limit, Waste Management will be able to haul garbage to the transfer station, Kardell said.

At the transfer station, garbage will be loaded onto tractor-trailers and hauled out of state, Kardell said.

Kardell said Waste Management has a number of facilities to which it can haul waste, but she did not specify which one will be used.

Homeowners will also be able to take their garbage there, although Kardell said she was not sure how much the rates will be for individuals.

A smaller garbage transfer station is operated at the Leetown site, but it handles only about 220 tons a month, Kardell said.

The Waste Management facility will be able to accept 9,999 tons at the new station, although that much waste will not be taken to the site, Kardell said.

Waste Management hopes to have the facility open for business by April or May, Kardell said.

The $1.4 million that Waste Management will spend on the project will include paved access roads and more than $400,000 in new equipment, the release said.

Waste Management will operate the station for seven years through an agreement with the Jefferson County Solid Waste Authority. At the end of the seven years, the solid waste authority will decide whether they want Waste Management to continue operation the facility, Kardell said.

State Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, who supported the project, said the transfer station is vital to ensuring that the area's waste management needs are met.

But Unger said the transfer station is only a short-term solution, adding that it will only ease the area's garbage disposal needs for about three to five years.

Eventually, officials will probably have to consider building another landfill or transfer station in the area, Unger said.

"That population will continue to grow. We've got a lot more work to do. It's not over," Unger said.

"The Eastern Panhandle has experienced tremendous growth in recent years," said Jim McGowan, chairman of the solid waste authority. "This new facility will provide at least a short-term solution for the Eastern Panhandle's waste disposal needs."

Jefferson County and neighboring Berkeley County grew faster than any other part of the state between 2000 and 2003. Berkeley's population surged 12.3 percent, while Jefferson's population jumped 9.7 percent.

Waste Management's attempts to increase the capacity of the LCS landfill have been denied by the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority. Officials cited heavy truck traffic in a large school district, geological problems at the landfill and litter and odor issues near the dump as reasons for not granting the expansion.

A measure seeking to overrule local authorities died in the Legislature this spring.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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