SWA committee to brainstorm recycling ideas
After a suggestion from a Buckeye woman to increase recycling in the county, the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) formed a committee to brainstorm recycling ideas.
Alice Arbuckle spoke to the SWA at its August 27 meeting and recommended a point system, in which property owners could reduce their green box fee by recycling.
Board chairman Ed Riley expressed concern with increased recycling costs and the administrative burden of a point system. The SWA currently pays $2,200 a month for recycling and has only one full-time office employee.
Board member Doug Bernier said a system like Arbuckle's could extend the life of the current landfill.
"If there were a system like this in place, it would be an incentive for citizens of the county to recycle and, hopefully, that would reduce the tonnage going into the landfill and extend the life of the cells," he said.
Riley responded that reduced tonnage would mean reduced income.
"Another thing you have to consider is - when the tonnage going into the landfill decreases, our costs at the landfill do not decrease," he said.
Board members Jim Burks and Bernier agreed to serve with Arbuckle on a committee to brainstorm methods to increase recycling and possibly reduce green box fees.
Dennis Fitzgerald, of Durbin, claimed the SWA had not provided him a service and refused to pay his green box bill, which has not been paid since 2006. Fitzgerald said a salvage company removes his household trash when they take old cars from his property.
Chairman Ed Riley informed Fitzgerald there are only two methods to avoid the green box fee: contract with a private trash hauler or use the monthly free day at the landfill. Riley told Fitzgerald a payment plan was available to help avoid financial hardship.
Fitzgerald was adamant that he would not pay his bill.
Riley told him that legal costs and court costs would double his bill if the SWA had to sue. The board took no action on Fitzgerald's request to cancel the bill.
"You can't expect to have a landfill and operate on donations," said board member Buster Varner.
During review of bills, Burks asked why C.I. Thornburg (CITCO) had charged eight hours at $125 per hour to conduct a flowmeter test at the landfill.
"It doesn't take that long to calibrate a flowmeter," he said.
Landfill manager Jody Alderman said the testing only takes about an hour, but the firm sends employees from Huntington and added travel costs to the bill.
Riley reviewed details of the bill and pointed out what he said were discrepancies.
"It's been a long time since I've been to college, but it says flowmeter calibration services by CITCO instrument technician, $250; hour labor by CITCO serviceman Mark Hellman, eight hours at $125 an hour, $1,000; travel, 465 miles -
which is a long way to Huntington, I've been there - $279," he said. "This is an inaccurate bill."
The board unanimously agreed to withhold payment until the firm had been contacted to review the bill.
Alderman informed the board that the landfill's 28 sand filters were clogged with a layer of sludge and that flow through the filters was very low. The sand filters are used to treat leachate water stored in a reservoir at the landfill. The "sand" is actually processed coal ash from power plants.
The manager said he was investigating other methods to eliminate the sludge but that it likely would be necessary to replace the sand in the filters, at a total cost of $24,000.
The board voted 4-0 to approve the expenditure, if necessary, with Varner abstaining.
"I don't like to spend the money," he said.
Per Bernier's request, office administrator Mary Clendenen investigated glass recycling in Highland County, Virginia, and reported that the neighboring county had difficulty finding a market for the glass and will soon be discontinuing their glass recycling program.
In other business, the SWA board:
- requested $14,500 from the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board (SWMB) for electronics recycling.
- submitted a DEP Rehabilitative Environmental Action Plan (REAP) grant budget revision. The SWA had been granted $12,000 for the purchase of a baler, which it decided not to purchase. If approved, the budget revision will allow the board to use the money for other recycling expenses.
- appointed Riley, Burks and Clendenen to serve on a committee to select an accounting firm to perform a mandatory annual audit.
- approved an expenditure of $2,154.10 for the purchase of two Dell computers.
- was informed by Clendenen that the SWMB had awarded the SWA $5,576 in recycling grant money. $450 was approved for educational pamphlets and $5,126 for recycling trailers.
The next regular SWA meeting is scheduled for September 29, 8 p.m. at the courthouse jury room.