Landfill water cleanest in recent history
Pocahontas County landfill manager Jody Alderman had some good news for the Solid Waste Authority (SWA) board - and the environment - at the SWA board meeting on June 29.
Alderman told the board that maintenance on sand filters at the landfill last year had yielded excellent results - the best water quality ever recorded since he's been manager.
"We've had the best water samples we've ever had, especially since springtime," he said. "Everything we did with the sand filters last year - it definitely made improvements to the water quality - in a large way."
Landfill cells are lined with an impermeable membrane. Water leaching from the landfill is collected in a reservoir and treated with the sand filters. Water samples near the discharge point are collected on a regular basis and sent to an independent lab for testing. The results are submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection, which establishes safe levels of discharge components.
The main item on the board's agenda was selection of a firm to collect recyclables from the five green box sites, the landfill and area schools.
Pocahontas Recycling submitted the only bid, for $2,200 per month. Beverly Shafer represented the firm at the meeting.
Board chairman Ed Riley wanted to make sure the contractor planned to collect recyclables at county schools at no additional cost to the schools.
Shafer said as long as the SWA continued to lease recycling trailers to her firm at a nominal cost, the schools would be included for no additional charge.
The board voted 4-0 to accept the bid from Pocahontas Recycling, with the stipulation that the contractor service the schools at no additional cost. Board member Jim Burks was not present.
SWA office manager Mary Clendenin reported that the annual electronic recycling collection day had gone well.
Contractor Scott Recycling collected 115 TVs, 180 computers and 174 microwave ovens and other electronic devices. The recycled electronics were enough to fill the contractor's 48-foot semi-trailer. NRAO and PMH provided much of the recyclables and 66 residents dropped off items at the Green Bank and Marlinton collection sites.
Many of the items had been previously deposited at the county landfill electronics collection site, where residents can drop off electronic items anytime during the year.
Many electronics contain hazardous elements, such as mercury and lead, that recycling keeps out of the landfill. Recyclers recover more than 100 million pounds of materials from electronics each year and recycling reduces pollution that would be generated while extracting raw natural resources.
In 2010, the Legislature made it illegal to deposit certain electronic items, including TVs and computer monitors, into West Virginia landfills.
Clendenin read a letter from Elaine Hodges, who complained about collection of green box fees.
"In your letter of March 14th, 2011, you stated that property owners who have not paid their bills are being sued," the letter read. "The Pocahontas Times reports that, at a meeting on April 27th, 2011, that two members did not want to pay the attorney to collect past due accounts and that one member, Doug Bernier, is being sued by the SWA. I find this incredulous; how do you expect residents to pay their fees when board members don't and some don't want to pay the attorney to collect past due accounts."
"You, the SWA, are not only undermining the legitimacy of your authority, you are still projecting unfair practices in collecting payment from all residents. Either you get your act together or I will not pay this fee and I will do everything I can to publicize past and present collection and non collection of the fees."
Board member Kenneth Varner agreed with some points in the letter.
"I think everybody should pay the fee, personally, and I'll tell her that myself when I see her," he said. "But I don't like to keep paying an attorney. I'd like to see more results. If she can do better, she can sit here."
The next SWA regular meeting is scheduled for July 27, 8 p.m. at the courthouse.