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Landfill closure confirmed

Transfer station site rejected

By Rose Laudicina
Staff Writer

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Commissioners set June 30, 2013, as the date to close the county landfill, giving the county and its municipalities 16 months to determine what to do with their trash.

The decision was met with loud cheers and applause from the standing-room-only crowd at the commissioners’ meeting.

The county commissioners decided in October 2011 not to pursue an option that could extend the life of the landfill, thereby ensuring its closure in 2013. But to make it official, they had to pick a date.

The next step for the county is to determine what to do with its trash. Also on Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to take a proposed site at the northwest corner of the intersection of I-40 and N.C. 86 off the table for consideration as a waste transfer station site.

“It is clear to me and clear to the board that Orange County needs to have a real discussion about what happens with Orange County’s solid waste,” Commissioner Valerie Foushee said.

“We need to engage with the towns and the university and talk about where our trash goes,” she said.

At the assembly of governments meeting in January, commissioners told the Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and Carrboro governing boards of their intention to begin trucking the county’s trash to the Durham waste transfer station as a temporary solution.

This suggestion was met with fervent opposition from both Chapel Hill and Carrboro, while Hillsborough was in favor of the idea.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton came to the meeting with his own proposal, and asked commissioners to look at siting a waste transfer station in Orange County at the I-40/N.C. 86 site.
Before the commissioners voted to look into this site, they heard from numerous residents voicing their opposition to Chilton’s plan.

“I was shocked to hear Mayor Chilton offering up a site outside of his jurisdiction and in the rural buffer,” Marilee McTigue told the board on Tuesday.

“The rural parts of our county are not vacant lands waiting for the municipalities to come break them apart and use them,” she added.

Commissioner Barry Jacobs also expressed his frustration and said he thought a transfer station should be sited closer to the largest trash contributors.

“Personally I am really tired of municipal problems being solved by putting it in rural areas,” Jacobs said. “I would urge Mayor Chilton to come back with a site in Carrboro, and Mayor Kleinschmidt with a site in Chapel Hill.”

The board on Tuesday voted to move forward with negotiating a contract with the Durham waste transfer station as a temporary solution.

In other business Tuesday evening, the board nominated commissioners Pam Hemminger and Foushee to the Historic Rogers Road Task Force and voted to move the county to single-stream recycling using current recycling bins instead of purchasing new roller carts.

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