INC NEWS - state report on Landfills
pats1717 at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 15 12:38:35 EDT 2007
This is from ConNet's weekly summary of state legislative / regulatory
stuff. One thing to note is the HUGE amount of $$ we could be getting if we
recycled more. Maybe we could have a contest among neighborhoods on
participation rates in recylcing (-:
Solid waste annual report. Paul Crissman, Division of Waste Management
Director, presented the annual solid waste report to the committee. He had
10 main points. (Crissman reflected that if hed been a preacher hed have
done a sorry job because he gave a 10 point sermon instead of a 3 point
Increasing waste: the amount of waste we generate is increasing
faster than population growth.
New types of facilities: almost 40% of waste goes through
transfer stations and that is increasing.
Staffing reductions: the Division has lost 20% of its staff at
the same time waste is increasing.
Waste travels: waste flow has changed dramatically, with
regional landfills rather than local county landfills now taking over half
of the waste. 10% of our waste leaves the state.
Landfill ownership: no current permit holders were the original
Capacity is not evenly distributed: To say the state has 22
years of capacity left is misleading because capacity in landfills varies
widely across the state.
Lack of public acceptance: it is very difficult to site a new
landfill; Greensboro and Orange County plan to transfer waste rather than
site a new landfill.
New proposed landfills: 4 new proposed landfills are unique in
that they are primarily for out of state waste and would change NC to a net
importer of waste.
In areas not previously anticipated: proposed landfills are in
areas of the state not anticipated for growth in this industry.
Legacy of old landfills: there is contamination in virtually all
of the old orphan landfills.
Crissman then went on to briefly summarize the Departments main
recommendations that are contained in S1492, Solid Waste Management Act.
Sen. Forrester (Gaston-R) had a series of quesitons: do landfills currently
have double liners? (S1492 would require double-liners). Answer: only the
landfill in New Hanover County. Forrester: are any landfills leaking?
Crissman: all orphan landfills have contamination. Forrester: when ownership
of a landfill is transferred does the company that originally built it have
any liability? Crissman: were not sure the answers are clear and that is
one of the things that troubles us. Forrester: how do they take care of
waste in countries with less space than we have, like Europe? Crissman: they
do incinerate, they have landfills, and they have stronger recycling
programs and behavior differences with packaging and consumption.
Sen. Swindell (Nash-D) asked if they had proposed a sunset on the $2.00
tipping surcharge, since the amount of waste, and thus the revenue, is
projected to increase. Crissman responded that a sunset was not proposed
and that, in fact, local governments are concerned about not having enough
funds to start out with to address liability from residential encroachment
on old landfills. Rep. Gibson (Anson-D) asked Crissman to summarize the
argument between the private and public sectors. Crissman acknowledged that
the public sector is concerned about S1492 putting them out of the landfill
business, but assured the committee that is not DENRs intention and that
they strongly encourage local government facilities. He noted that
Greensboro and Orange County are not getting out of the landfill business on
account of S1492 but because of lack of public acceptance for new landfills.
Staff counsel George Givens summed up the three big areas of disagreement on
S1492, which is currently in a stakeholder negotiation: franchise process,
technical standards for landfill siting, and the tipping surcharge. He
clarified that the tipping fee is what the hauler pays per ton at the
landfill and it encompasses the cost of disposal, the cost to meet technical
standards, and a profit for the operator. The tipping surcharge is a tax on
top of that that would be used to fund cleanup of orphan landfills. He
noted that one factor that drives waste across state lines is the cost of
disposal, and that a higher tipping fee can be a disincentive for the
transportation of waste.
Finally, Scott Mouw with the state recycling program gave a succinct
presentation on recycling markets in North Carolina. There has been a 60%
growth in recycling sector jobs in NC in the last decade, and there are 540
companies in NC that recycle. He made the point that recyclables that are
being thrown away are not waste, but rather commodities, and that NC
disposes of over 3 million tons of traditional easily recyclable materials
such as bottles, aluminum cans and paper, electronics and wood pallets. The
value of just the bottles, aluminum and paper disposed of is over $100
million. We could recycle over half of the waste stream in NC there is
still a lot left for us to grab.
Sen. Swindell (Nash-D) asked what we should be doing to help the glass
recycler in his district. Mouw replied that successful implementation in
2008 of the law passed last year that requires bars to recycle bottles will
help. Sen. Albertson (Duplin-D) asked what percentage of waste we are
recycling now. Mouw replied that it is difficult to tell, but probably 25 %
to 30%. Albertson: I dont understand why were not doing better. Mouw: we
dont have right combination of incentives, enforcement and mandates; for
instance a tax incentive to close the gap between the cost of disposal and
recycling of food waste.
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