Trash issue continues

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Container First Services (CFS) — whose operation of the county landfill fell under criticism earlier this year but who promised improvements — may again be on the hot seat.

Supervisor Frank Bacon is suggesting that company representatives appear before the Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors after Beverley Hawthorne, who oversees the company’s landfill operation for the county, said earlier this month that the company ended up with trash overflowing at some sites, and left it strewn in the road and elsewhere.

“The way it works they do real well for a while and then it falls to the ground,” Bacon said. Residents near the landfill turned out to present a litany of complaints, ranging from smell to exposed trash to speeding vehicles and late-night dumping and successfully lobbied the county for closer supervision of the operation.

The county has hired Carl Ashworth as the landfill liaison, Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne said at the supervisors’ meeting that most of the problems with the overflowing sites came because there is “no control over when people dump.”

County Administrator Tracy Gee said, “ninety-five percent of those problems are at the unmanned open-top sites.”

County officials have said they are as quickly as possible phasing out the “open top” sites — locations where open dumpsters sit for anyone to dispose of whatever trash and refuse whenever they want.

The county has whittled the number of open top sites down from 49 to 12.

“We have to bite a bullet and shutdown open tops,” Supervisor Robert Zava said.

Supervisors have said that because these sites are unsupervised, items that should not be disposed of with household trash, or should be recycled, end up being thrown into them.

County officials insist the collection sites are fenced in to keep animals out, and are manned so that someone monitors what is disposed of, and also makes sure that trash is picked up around them. There is also recycling at the locations.

Earlier this year, the county started using security cameras at some of the sites, and Hawthorne said they have apparently caught nothing significant to report.

“At the sites that are manned, people are basically behaving,” she said.

The county continues to try to find a location for a convenience center on Oral Oakes Road, and is still looking for a site to establish a convenience center near Route 138 south of Brickland Road.

In June, the board was prepared to secure a site on Oral Oakes, but residents turned out in opposition and supervisors instead tabled the plan and residents for help in securing another site in the vicinity.

Two area sites have come up, but both have problems. One would have road access issues, and the other is just not in the best location, officials said.

“It is away from (a majority) of the people who need to be served,” Hawthorne said.

Now, the landowner of the original site is considering selling the property.

“Hopefully that will come to fruition very soon,” Hawthorne said.

Meanwhile, area residents continue to attend supervisors meetings out of fear the county might establish a location — including the one originally proposed — without informing them or without their input.

Opponent Karla Sickerott said they have visited open top sites and convenience centers and they both come with problems.

“I’ve seen manned ones … with the things we’re afraid of,” she said. “We’ve seen illegal dumping; we’ve seen feral cats.”