Camden County landfill battle heats up

You don't often see the State of North Carolina and advocacy groups on the same side in legal disputes:

The N.C. Coastal Federation said in a press release Wednesday that it has asked to join the state and the N.C. State Conference of the NAACP in defending the state’s right to deny construction of the landfill by Waste Industries USA, Inc., and their subsidiary, Black Bear Disposal, LLC.

The press release says that forested wetlands, state parks, national wildlife refuges and state game lands should not be subjected to the threats that accompany mega-landfills because potentially dangerous contaminants can leach from landfills and migrate to groundwater or to streams.


Just to give you an idea

of where the trash will be coming from:

Shut off from a near by site for its wastes, New York has had to export most of the 20,000 tons of trash it produces each day.

For the years that followed, much of that wound up in Pennsylvania landfills. But, fed up with the onslaught, the Keystone State is cracking down on waste imports by delaying or denying permits for major site expansions and closing existing sites.

Now the New York City Department of Sanitation is negotiating 20-year contracts to dump New York City garbage outside of New York.

As a result, in the last year, North Carolina has been put in the cross-hairs of Waste Management and the other waste giants who want to cash in on New York's problem by hauling away it's garbage to far away dumps in North Carolina, Virginia, and other states.

Six counties in North Carolina are immediately affected by a variety of proposals.

Camden County: Waste Industries, Inc. (Black Bear Disposal LLC)
Waste Stream: municipal solid waste, industrial waste and C&D waste
Service Area: United States east of I-75
Projected Volume: 3,650,000 tons per year (10,000 tons per day)
Transportation: Container barges to Virginia and trucks to Camden County
Natural Areas: Dismal Swamp State Natural Area and Dismal Swamp NWR

Just say NO

Is there not some way we here in NC can just say NO to this? The truth is, we Americans are just falling way too far behind in recycling and that needs to be changed somehow.

We have been recycling for years...WAY before recycling was cool. Of course, we have a close-by recycling center where we take our plastic and glass and cans etc. to which makes it easier for us. We need to have far more recycling centers like this and make a dedicated effort to getting people to recycle rather than just putting their trash into a way-too-convenient trash container just to be picked up and taken to the landfill. Recycling and "environmental citizenship" should be mandatory classes in our public school systems also. It is up to us to make the changes necessary to protect our environment and to reduce the amount of non-biodegradeable material that goes into our landfills.

I agree Foxtrot

School is the prime place to shape recycling behavior. Every student should take responsibility for every item that she/he disposes of and the schools need to streamline the process. It becomes second nature that they will most likely continue at home. Get them while they're young.

And they can "teach" the adults

Get them while they're young

Exactly. And, if we can get the youth in our country to become environmentally active, they can teach the adults to be so as well. "Hey, dad, should we not take a lot of that stuff to the recycling center?" Get the point?

I recently cleaned out my storage building and had my pick-em-up truck bed full of all sorts of "stuff". I took it to the landfill and, alas, had to put the metal stuff in one place and the brush stuff and so forth in different locations. Yet, when I went to the main dumping site, I saw all these plastic Mt. Dew and Coke bottles and paint cans and aerosol containers being dumped out of the back of one of the Waste Management trucks that was being bulldozered over and pushed into a kind of pit where they were to be buried. Hey, that stuff will be there until hell freezes over, for crying out loud.

Much of that can be recycled and reused and made into "once again" kind of containers that can be sold commercially for people to use without having to be trashed. There is a win/win situation here if we are smart enough to just invest enough to do it. I would think that a savvy entrepeneur would grab the chance to get his/her hands on this stuff.

Just thinkin' outloud.

We have enough environmental problems

of our own without importing trash from New York City, for crying outloud. The state shouldn't have to battle with a private company in court over something like this, it/they should be able to say, "No!"

And you're right about the biodegradeable issue. A lot of the stuff we put into landfills is not, even some of the organic matter. In his later years, my dad (retired engineer) became interested in solid waste management, and audited some courses at NC State. He showed me an article in a magazine where they had dug up a very old landfill, and discovered a banana peel that had been wrapped in a newspaper from the 1920's. The paper was still readable, and the banana peel was still mostly yellow.

Here's the thing: a lot of the garbage we throw away is "solar" degradeable, meaning that, if you allow it to be exposed to UV and blue rays for just a short period of time, the degrading process begins and even continues after it's buried. But these mega-landfills process so much trash, even if they wanted to take the time to do it right (which they don't) they would have to modify their procedures drastically.

It's a mess, but until we develop better ways to dispose of this stuff, we need to deal with our own trash and not somebody else's.

Meanwhile in South Carolina garbage news

Landfill operator suing grassroots organizations for sullying its crappy reputation.

Some people will stop at nothing to stink up South Carolina … with trash from other states, no less.

Take “MRR Southern LLC,” a North Carolina-based company that has been pushing for several years to locate a massive “mega-dump” trash landfill in Marlboro County, S.C. – this despite overwhelming local opposition to the project as well as statewide landfill capacity data which clearly shows that South Carolina has no need for such a facility.

In 2008, a whopping 94% of Marlboro County residents voted against MRR Southern’s plan to locate a mega-dump in their county, one of the most lopsided local referendum results in state history.

Of course, this near-unanimous display of local opposition (as well as a more formal rebuke of MRR’s plans by Marlboro County government) has done nothing to stop these politically-connected trash peddlers – who have several powerful State House politicians in their hip pocket, including S.C. Rep. Doug Jennings (D – Bennettsville).

The latest chapter in the ongoing saga?

MRR Southern has (believe it or not) filed a federal lawsuit against “Citizens for Marlboro County,” the local grassroots group that is opposing its ongoing campaign to stink up their backyards.

Make sure you follow that link

and read the whole story of the graft, greed, threats and sleaze you can expect to find in the business of taking trash for money.

Scotland County Landfill Proposal Back on the Table.

In Scotland County, the landfill proposal, which had been tabled after the 2007 Solid Waste Management Act, is back. County commissioners propose partnering with the waste industry. (The county spent over $200,000. on an option for the land, consultant fees, attorney fees, site testing, etc. for the former site). Waste Management, as well as Waste Industries and at least one other waste company, have expressed interest in a host agreement.

Interestingly, the new site is about 15 miles (as the seagulls fly) from the Marlboro, SC site. The entrance to the Marlboro landfill would be, for all practical purposes, through NC, near Hamlet.

Scotland County is close to Ft. Bragg, and stands to benefit from the BRAC expansion (expected to bring $6.5 billion to the area). The county also has a great location as a transportation hub, with access to three interstates; the Wilmington port; railroads; and (with federal, state and military support) the very real prospect of resurfacing the WWII runway at the Laurinburg Maxton Airport. The area has the potential to become an Inland Port for the fast growing Piedmont-Atlantic MegaRegion.

The size of the proposed landfill has changed from 5,000 tons per day to "just" 3,000 tons per day. Based on the prior proposed host agreement for 5,000 tons per day, which stated that it would serve 51 million people, the 3,000 tons per day would serve around 30 million people. The new proposal is being touted to serve Scotland “and surrounding counties”, and “just” NC and SC. The total population of NC and SC does not exceed 15 million people.

Siting a mega-landfill in the county would preclude desirable economic development. The new proposed landfill site is within three miles of the airport. The landfill would reach the height of a 24 story building. Our pure water would be endangered. A mega-landfill would squander our reputation, our resources, and our revenue.

Scotland County has high unemployment and a high tax rate, having lost a number of industries over recent years. The waste industry has been lobbying the county for more than 10 years. County officials say “we can’t wait” for more desirable economic development.

It was the former County Manager

who had worked for the waste industry for ten years.