I would like to make the citizens of Pocahontas County aware of a situation that I believe should be of grave concern to everyone who resides here.
On Tuesday October 11, I spent some time reading the minutes of recent monthly meetings of the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority. I was shocked to learn that it is the intention of the PCSWA to close the landfill at Dunmore within three to five years and turn it into a transfer station. If that happens, you can be sure that the costs to dispose of your trash will skyrocket as it will have to be trucked a great distance out of the county.
Those of you that know me are probably aware that I have been interested in issues concerning solid waste disposal for many years. For several years, I and other county residents submitted comments in response to the PCSWA annual comprehensive plan pointing out that the system was not in compliance with the W.V. State Code, which requires solid waste authority plans to have provisions for “innovative incentives to promote recycling efforts”. (Chap. 22.C-4-8(b) (10). The State Code also specifies a hierarchy in dealing with solid waste where landfilling is the least desirable option after source reduction, recycling, reuse and resource recovery. The manner in which the PCSWA system is structured is diametrically opposite to what the State Code dictates, and is actually a disincentive to source reduction, recycling, reuse and resource recovery.
In reviewing my notes in order to compose this letter, I came across the responses of the PCSWA to comments made at their 02-27-13 Public Hearing on their Comprehensive Plan which states that their plan “details a strategy for keeping the landfill open for the next twenty-year period”. (This information is a matter of public record).
For many years, I and others tried to convince the PCSWA to adopt usage sensitive rates for garbage disposal, which would give residents an incentive to reduce the amount of trash that they generate, and therefore would have extended the life of the landfill. The PCSWA never did implement such a system, and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Perhaps it is not too late. If every member of our community made a concerted effort to drastically reduce the amount of solid waste that they generate, the life of the landfill might be extended. Otherwise, I would suggest that you start saving up your hundred dollar bills.
The PCSWA meetings are held in the evenings of the last Wednesday of the month, January through October, and the first Wednesday of December.
Douglas H. Bernier
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