Thursday, February 2, 2006

Watson residents oppose landfill

By SUE WATSON
Staff Writer

A meeting in the Watson community, attended by about 70 people, drew mostly opposition to a proposed household garbage (municipal solid waste) landfill site, according to District 4 Supervisor George Zinn III, who called the meeting.

The supervisor called the meeting as an informative gathering to let residents know of a proposed sale of 718 acres owned by Pat Woods to Resourceful Environmental Services for a landfill.

If the proposal flies with the Marshall County Solid Waste Authority, the land would be included as a proposed site in the county’s comprehensive solid waste plan soon to go before Mississippi Environmental Quality for review, according to Bill Dawson, consultant for R.E.S.

Dawson said he was approached by the company two years ago to look for a possible site in Marshall County.

Some benefits that would accrue to Marshall County were such a contract developed with a company could include a host fee paid to the county each month when tonnage exceeds an agreed upon amount, reduced transportation costs and likely reduced or eliminated residential garbage collection fees, according to Zinn and Dawson.

Tunica County’s contract several years ago was bringing in between $30,000 and $40,000 monthly in host fees and residential garbage collection is free.

Zinn was careful to say that the meeting held at the Isaac Chapel Community Center January 23 was informative and not a public hearing.

“I was merely trying to inform the residents in that area that the landfill was being discussed and give them an opportunity to say what their pleasure was,” Zinn said. “If the residents were in favor of it, I would have voted to put the site into the Marshall County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan.”

Zinn said he personally contacted about 80 percent of those who came to the meeting. He said most of the people had no prior knowledge that a landfill site was under consideration in the Watson area.

“I thank those concerned citizens for showing up and voicing their opinions,” he added.

Zinn said he became interested in looking into a possible landfill for household waste after talking with supervisors in Tunica County.

“What a blessing it would be if Marshall County could rid itself of a nearly $400,000 a year shortfall in garbage fees that are uncollectible (from residents),” he said. “And what a blessing it would be if residents didn’t have to pay a garbage fee.”

Zinn said the residents have the say in the matter.

Dawson said the site near Watson was selected because of its proximity to the expressway, yet being tucked away and not visible to passersby.

He added that soil tests and site approval and permitting, if the site is included in the county’s solid waste plan, would be a lengthy process.

The proposed site at Watson would provide capacity for about 50 years and R.E.S. would have to haul garbage in from out of county to make the project economically viable, Dawson said.

The matter is likely to be discussed by the Marshall County Solid Waste Authority board of trustees at a 6 p.m. meeting February 6, Dawson said.

“If the solid waste authority votes to can it, then it will be canned,” he said.


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