11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Let's Talk Trash
Tuesday, February 4, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
New County Office Bldg., 5th Street
[To order a box lunch ($8), contact the office, 970-1707, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 3.]
Solid Waste – Out of sight, out of mind, or, are we all in this together?
Once every 10 years or so, our community faces the issue of trash, garbage, dumps, that is, where and what will we do with solid waste? Our League has consistently spoken up for citizen involvement in solid waste decisions. But the League has pointed out that citizens need good information in order to be effective participants.
Neighborhoods that feel threatened know what they don't want near them. They do research and come to public hearings. But until we reduce our household waste to zero, waste needs to go somewhere, with potential impacts on neighborhoods and pocket-books. In 2001 the Ivy landfill was closed, so all waste ultimately goes outside our district (unless it is re-used or composted). But getting the best system to collect and transport our waste is a public issue. Some say it is a core service of our local governments to handle our waste. Others say private enterprise can be more efficient.
Our local systems are a hybrid of public and private. Charlottesville City Council does consider waste handling to be a core governmental service. It has curbside collection paid for by fees and city taxes. Its recycling goes to a Clean Materials Recovery Facility (Clean MURF) in Chester,Va., through the hauler Republic, and the rest goes to the Zion Crossroads' dirty Materials Utilization Facility (“MURF”), where some recyclables are pulled, some refuse is landfilled in Amelia County and some is hauled to Harrisonburg for burning in JMU's waste-to-energy plant.
Briefly, residents in the rural counties in our League use private trash-haulers. Nelson County has several convenience centers and also a transfer station for commercial haulers. Greene County has a transfer station and recycling center. Fluvanna County is the site of the region's main MURF at Zion Crossroads and also has another convenience center.
Today's “hot topic” is Albemarle County's dilemma regarding its solid waste. Its present system includes a transfer station on the site of the old Ivy landfill, where commercial haulers and individuals take solid waste to be compacted and trucked to a landfill in Amelia County. Individuals can deposit recyclables there or at the city-county McIntire Recycling Center. The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, directed by a city-county board, runs the Ivy site, the McIntire site, and a “paper sort” site. But the Ivy transfer station is expensive, outdated and in need of major capital investment.
The 2012-13 Board of Supervisors decided to have Rivanna close that station and, instead, have the County and a private contractor open three “convenience centers” for household use. It was the choice of where to put a southern-area convenience center that got the public's attention suddenly, even though the decision to move in this direction had been publicly discussed over the last several years. The new Board of Supervisors voted on January 8 to put aside that decision and, instead, take a new look at the entire system of disposing of solid waste.
Questions for citizens to ask are numerous. Just to get your thinking started – What role should government play in disposing of our waste? What should be the goals of a solid waste system, in terms of recycling, educating the public, using public and private dollars efficiently and effectively, and protecting the environment? Since our community usually prides itself in being environmentally progressive, should we pay for a tax-supported system? Should government get out of the business of waste disposal and let private enterprise manage it? Should the city and counties work more closely together? How will we judge “success” of our solid waste system(s)?
Join us on Tuesday, February 4, 11:30 am, to discuss this important local issue!
1600 5th St SW
Albemarle Info: 434-296-5822
Clerk's office: 434-296-5843