Push Coming to Shove as Landfill Space Wanes
As it grows bigger and more mature, the Moore County landfill nears the end of life.
But it still has several years to go before Moore County must mount a serious search for additional land.
County Public Works Director Dennis Brobst said the present area in use at the construction and demolition landfill is expected to last until 2010. The county has contracted with HDR Engineering of Charlotte to prepare its permitting application to the state for the next portion of the landfill.
For permitting purposes, the landfill areas in active use for disposition of construction and demolition materials are known as cells. In use now is what is known as Cell 4. The permit being handled by HDR Engineering is Cell 5. Brobst thinks the landfill may have enough space left for a Cell 6, but that decision must wait a few more years.
"We're comfortable that Cell 5 will last at least until about 2017," Brobst said.
The landfill is a tract of about 130 acres off N.C. 5 between Aberdeen and Pinehurst.
The county's landfill is used only for disposition of construction and demolition materials, including stumps and vegetative debris removed from yards and construction sites.
All other household trash -- everything from apple cores to disposable diapers -- must be hauled to a lined landfill, in accordance with state and federal environmental laws.
Moore County has a contract with Republic Services of North Carolina, formerly known as Uwharrie Environmental, to dispose of the county's household, business and other regular waste in a lined landfill at Troy in neighboring Montgomery County. The county pays Republic $43,000 a month for this service. Municipalities have separate contracts with the company.
The landfill space issue arose most recently with a request from Taylortown for the county to waive its landfill fee for disposal of the demolished houses being excavated under a state environmental directive. Taylortown leaders told county officials the municipality does not have funds budgeted for this unexpected expense.
As of late last week, the county had not made a decision on the Taylortown request. Although sympathetic, some county commissioners have expressed concern that waiving the landfill fees, estimated at more than $140,000 for Taylortown, would set a precedent, and other municipalities would expect the same treatment. Public Works officials have prepared a recommendation for the commissioners' consideration.
Although tonnage from the Taylortown project has been hefty, Brobst does not expect the material to have a serious impact on the remaining space at the landfill. He says the demolition materials excavated in Taylortown are dense with water and soil but do not contain large quantities of wood and other bulky items.
In fact, the state has allowed the county to use part of the soil waste from Taylortown as the required cover that must be spread atop the landfill on a daily basis.
However, the Taylortown project did double the tonnage at the landfill during the month of April.
Brenda Beane, Public Works administrative assistant, said the landfill tonnage shot up from 2,566.99 tons in March to 4,506.41 in April. In an average month the tonnage is about 2,600, or about 650 tons a week.
Although the county has plenty of landfill space left for the time being, Brobst said the county is not taking any chances on maintaining sufficient space for future growth. He said the county cannot afford to wait until space is running out to begin the permitting process, which is complex and time-consuming.
"We can operate in Cell 4 until 2010, but from an operational standpoint, it's much more to our advantage to get the next cell permitted as early as possible," Brobst said.
Once all the space is used up at the landfill, the county must find a suitable tract either adjacent to the present landfill or in another location.
The county landfill is also the location of the transfer station, where municipalities and other contract entities deliver household trash for transport to the lined facility in Montgomery County. Moore County also uses the transfer station for that purpose.
State and federal environmental regulations imposed in the early 1990s required the closing of all unlined landfills used for disposal of ordinary household waste. The only other landfills now permitted in North Carolina are restricted to construction and demolition materials and allowed yard waste.
Brobst said state regulations are unclear at this point, but it appears that lining will be required for future construction and demolition landfills. That lining would not be enclosed and constructed of plastic or other impermeable material, such as that of the Troy facility, but Brobst thinks the lining must be clay or a similar approved soil. This will add to the expense, but it won't be as expensive as operation of a Troy-like facility.
The Troy landfill was a state-of-the-art facility when it opened late in the last century. In addition to handling household waste, it provides recycling equipment that separates items that can be recycled once they are tossed into the facility in plastic trash bags.
Moore County Public Works Department operates and maintains a series of recycling container centers in locations across the county. These centers provide separate containers for recyclable materials as well as a place for regular household waste.
Recyclables are stored and sold to companies that handle such materials. Everything else is taken to the transfer station to be transported to Montgomery County.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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