Costs lead Chatham to ponder building its own landfill

Staff writerMay 20, 2009 

  • Chatham County officials will hold four meetings for residents to hear more about the county's long-term waste-disposal options.

    The meetings are:

    10 a.m. June 2 at the Western Senior Center, Siler City

    7 p.m. June 11 at Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro, in the Multipurpose Room

    7 p.m. June 16 at the Harper's Crossroads Community Center

    7 p.m. June 25: at the Moncure Fire Department in Moncure

— Chatham County is considering building a new landfill because of the rising cost of shipping garbage out of the county.

The county will hold four meetings next month for residents to hear more about long-term waste-disposal options, including a landfill.

"No decision on a landfill or any other option has been made," said Robert Holden, county waste management director. "We are not looking at any specific landfill locations and would not do so at this stage."

County officials say hauling waste to a regional landfill in Sampson County has cost the county more than $6.6million over the past five years. The current disposal rate averages $55 per ton, but a study said that could increase to more than $132 per ton in the next 45 years, Holden said. The study said the county has limited options:

Continue transferring waste out of the county.

Build a new landfill to serve just Chatham County.

Join other governments in a regional landfill.

A landfill would be cheaper than continuing to transfer waste out of the county. Based on the 2008 estimates, the study found a county landfill could save about $148million over 45years, while a regional landfill would save as much as $195million.

Talk of a new landfill to the south has got the attention of Orange County officials.

Solid Waste Director Gayle Wilson has already told Chatham he'd like to talk if the county pursues a landfill. Orange County's landfill could fill up by 2012, and the county is looking for places to haul its trash.

"If such an arrangement could be put together I believe that Orange County's transfer hauling costs could be reduced significantly, not to mention the associated emissions resulting from longer hauling," Wilson said Tuesday. "I believe we would be very interested in engaging Chatham in further discussions if and when they are ready."

That could come this summer. Holden hopes to have recommendations for the county commissioners by July or August.

Planning and building a landfill would take about five years.

Regardless of what Chatham does, Orange would still need to build a transfer station, Wilson said. The county is considering a site off N.C. 54 in rural White Cross, and possibly a site suggested by Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy next to the town's public works yard on Millhouse Road.

mark.schultz@nando.com or 919-932-2003

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