Thursday, July 20, 2006
Solid waste public hearing Monday
By SUE WATSON
A public hearing to take comments on the Marshall County Comprehensive Solid Waste Plan is set for Monday at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. The solid waste committee will conduct the hearing.
Included in the solid waste management system program executive summary is a forward-looking proposal for how the county will address the disposal of various types of solid waste - including a prospective site for a rubbish pit and/or household waste landfill.
Members of the solid waste committee say they expect to hear some opposition to the proposed landfill off Landfill Road at the West Holly Springs Exit to Holly Springs.
A 100-mile radius service area from the proposed facility is specified as well as other types of waste handling on the 68.7-acre site located adjacent to a 2.5 acre dump and transfer station owned and operated by the county.
The plan includes a proposal to construct and operate a solid waste transfer station, a recycling collection center, an upgrade to the collection site for waste tires and a Class I rubbish site and a municipal solid waste landfill.
Supervisor Willie Flemon, who also serves on the solid waste authority committee, acknowledged he expects some citizens to go on the record in objection to the proposed landfill, mostly because of its proximity to the City of Holly Springs, a prime expansion area for the city and airport area. Several aldermen said the Highway 4 Bypass loop would enclose the proposed landfill and that the site is too near the “front door” to the city.
Some citizens on Lester Road and some in Sunset Acres off Highway 178 near the county shop are not in favor of the location, and District 1 citizens are likely to turn out in opposition, Flemon said.
As yet, Flemon said he has not established a position on the landfill site; he’s waiting to hear what the public wants before deciding how he will vote on the matter.
“That’s when I’ll voice my opinion according to what the public wants,” he said.
But he is not optimistic the public will accept the proposed landfill site.
“If it didn’t go in in District 4, I don’t think it will go in near the city limits,” he said.
Flemon said he voted for the plan to be sent to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality because the county has to get a solid waste management plan approved or be in violation of state law.
“That doesn’t mean I’m in favor of the site,” he said. “I have to be in favor of the plan if we have to have a site to go with the plan.”
Flemon said most citizens do not really understand what a landfill is.
“They are looking for something smelly when you’re looking at household garbage,” he said. “If it didn’t fly in District 2 and in the bottoms in District 4, I don’t think it will fly here. It’s up to the people to voice their opinion.”
Supervisor Keith Taylor, also the chairman of the solid waste committee, said the solid waste management plan is a joint effort between the county and the cities.
He also expects some citizens to voice opposition to the proposed landfill site.
“Nothing has been decided,” he said. “We’re not trying to force anything on the cities. This is a joint effort between Potts Camp, Byhalia, Holly Springs and the county. This is something we can work out.”
Taylor said there was no public comment when the county held a hearing about three years ago on the first comprehensive solid waste plan. The opposition followed after the plan had been submitted to Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and had received preliminary approval, he said.
Then during a 30-day period of appeal after the first plan cleared MDEQ, citizens asked for a hearing at MDEQ, primarily to object to the construction of a rubbish pit off Knox Road near Highway 72 in the northwestern part of the county.
After further consideration, MDEQ rejected the first solid waste plan, the county organized a second solid waste authority, and submitted a new plan to MDEQ that addressed the agency’s concerns.
Comment on this second plan will be taken at the hearing Monday.
Bill Schneller, attorney for the Solid Waste Authority of Marshall County, explained that the new plan has two proposed uses for the 68.7 acres on Landfill Road, located adjacent to the county’s transfer station - a Class I rubbish pit and a new Class A municipal solid waste site.
Schneller said the site permit application for a rubbish pit or a landfill is “a long, drawn out process. The county felt there is a need for it, whether the site is a good location, or not.”
Counties that have a landfill are able to get favorable tipping fees which can be used to pay for solid waste management costs, he said. That would include operational costs for carrying out the plan, means for controlling illegal dumping, and means for recycling materials such as old tires and other goods.
The site approval process would include soil testing and other studies to determine the suitability of a proposed site for a rubbish pit or a landfill facility.
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