Commissioners discuss waste transfer station tonight

At their meeting tonight, the Board of Orange County Commissioners (BOCC) will getting an update on the process of siting as waste transfer station to ship our garbage out of the county. It looks like they might be deciding on the Eubanks site, or they could decide to look at other sites, or maybe even re-open the search.

The Manager recommends that the Board receive the attached information and provide staff with additional comments or direction regarding a final decision on a transfer station location. Should the Board wish to further consider one of the two Highway 70 candidate sites, staff will prepare a detailed assessment of the site, including the scheduling of a community meeting and other opportunities for community input into the search process, and arrange a transfer station tour for interested residents of the Highway 70/Eno DD area.

- Action agenda item abstract (PDF).

For more background, see my previous post on the repeated dumping on the historic, African-American Rogers Road neighborhood and this Chapel Hill News editorial detailing the history of broken promises to this community.

Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton posted his letter to the BOCC, and rather than restate what he has put very well, I will just copy it here:

Dear Mr. Chairman and Commissioners;

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen has not collectively come to a conclusion about the proposed Transfer Station, but realizing that you may be making major decisions on March 13, I am writing on my own behalf solely, rather than as a voice for the entire Board. I have struggled a lot with the question of locating a Solid Waste Transfer Station on Eubanks Road, as I know you have as well. Here is what I have concluded about this idea:

1. I do not believe that any genuine commitment was ever made to have the Landfill be the last solid waste facility ever located on Eubanks Road. However, the fundamental fairness issues that are raised by the proposed Transfer Station site are valid. It is clear that at least unconsciously the race and income of the neighbors were factors in siting the landfill on Eubanks Road. To build the Transfer Station there without a systematic site search or any compensation would be eating the fruit of the same poisonous tree, as they say in criminal law.

2. Although the County staff has clearly done a lot of homework on some possible sites, a systematic search has not been made. A site along I-40 or I-85 is obviously desirable, but there must be more possibilities than have been given serious consideration to date. For me, it might be possible to conclude that Eubanks Road is the only feasible site IF a systematic site search came to that conclusion. So far as I can see, that has not happened.

3. The County and Towns have not yet accomplished all of the Compensation Items that were agreed to by the Assembly of Governments in 1997. As a community we need to revisit the issue of compensation for the impacts of the existing landfill. Discussion of a further facility there without having provided the compensation we already agreed to ought to be totally out of the question.

4. If the County Commission decides to proceed with the Eubanks Rd. Site, then I believe that the County needs to undertake an additional round of compensation negotiation with these same neighborhoods and that the County needs to be meaningfully generous in such negotiations.

Finally, I do not want to imply that the above conclusions are easily drawn. I know that all of us are trying to find the best, practical solution for our entire community and I am not writing to criticize anyone who may come to a different conclusion about this matter, but the County Commission asked for my opinion and so, here it is. In short, I respectfully believe you have a lot more homework to do.


Mark Chilton
Mayor of Carrboro

The BOCC meeting starts at 7:30 pm in the Battle Courtroom in downtown Hillsborough and this is item # 9b on the fairly long agenda.



Hi -- I've been reading casually over the past year or so since my wife and I moved from Raleigh to Chapel Hill. We live in the Northwood neighborhood in the northwest area bounded by Eubanks, MLK, and Weaver Dairy. As such, we're not technically in the town limits but have a Chapel Hill address.

Anyway, the history of all this is really fascinating and I truly sympathize with the Rogers Road community. From the Northwood perspective, having been indirectly involved with C.U.R.B. and the efforts to bring some kind of order and reasoned planning to the development coming to Northwest Chapel Hill, I shudder to think how siting the waste transfer facility on Eubanks Road will impact the character of our area. The UPS facility and park-and-ride lot (which I use daily) already provide plenty of bus and commercial truck traffic on Eubanks, and the Town Operations Center will certainly give us more of the same. Throw in a couple of housing developments and we're really looking at a difficult situation. Add in a waste transfer station and we're looking at a nightmare.

I am unable to attend the BOCC meeting tonight but have written the Commissioners about my concerns. To me, Rogers Road should obviously receive primary consideration when it comes to community concerns over the transfer station, but I hope Northwood and other communities in the area (both existing and proposed) will have some kind of voice as well.

Chris Clemmons

I am at the meeting tonight and there are some very good speakers.

The most disturbing aspect of this is that the Rogers Road community is about to be burdened with yet another community responsibility (landfills, sewer line, transfer station).

The second most disturbing fact is the lack of a process to come up with a set of criteria and then use those criteria to identify the best site. According to one speaker, the EPA requires such a process when siting a waste transfer station. Even if it wasn't required by the EPA, it seems like the most prudent way to make such an important and lasting decision.

Will Raymond makes some good points on his many blog entries on the subject. There appear to have been no consideration for the identification of a geographic center as part of the evaluation.

Given the growth of North Chapel Hill, the traffic patterns and loads are an important consideration.

I think this will be the last item on the agenda tonight, given the number of speakers.


Attended and spoke at the meeting.

Quick thoughts on the BOCC meeting and the SWAB minutes from 2006:

1. Decision delayed but still think the commissioners will come back to the Eubanks Rd site. Unless CH and Cboro leaders take a strong stand against the site or at least serious consideration of alternative sites my estimation is at the end of the day Eubanks will get the nod. I am surprised that the BOCC would bring this to a vote without getting an up or down vote from the community leadership.
Also I surprised that we are so far down the road on having to make a decision (landfill closes in 2010) and real debate as to the site is just beginning.

2. Please read the SWAB minutes from last year:
My reading is that the towns for reasons of $$$$ were giving the BOCC an implied go ahead on the Eubanks. Both CH and Carrboro will spend a great deal more money on manpower, trucks and haul cost if the site is not on Eubanks. My question from this is HOW MUCH MORE MONEY? Was there a study done on this? What about the long term cost for roads? What is the value of the land with an alternative use?

3. No definitive study or search of alternative sites was done. For that matter I do not believe there was much study done of the impact of a transfer station on Eubanks Road. Again read the SWAB minutes. From the SWAB minutes there is no sense of urgency on the transfer station as to a timeline because the assumption for a Eubanks location is so ingrained. No mention there of hard facts and costs being presented to SWAB that could serve as a basis for a recommendation. SWAB is a citizen's board. I respect citizens that serve on these boards. However their recommendations are only as good as the information they receive.

4. Also in the SWAB minutes it states that the Eubanks Transfer Station is a 25-year facility. This relates to a final thought. For a decision to be made that will have such a long-term impact on our county and communities too little serious study has been done. I believe Commissioner Carey when he and others said this process has been discussed for many years. However discussion is not a detailed analysis of the pros and cons. In the end that is what the commissioners indicated they need. The citizens of Orange County need the facts as to costs, possible tax increases, traffic studies, environmental impact, road improvement studies, and community impact for each potential site.

The decision will be a tough one no matter what is decided. I said to the commissioner that their jobs are often "thankless". This will be one of the most thankless tasks for them. I can live with tough decisions if the reasons can be stated clearly with facts to give them weight. The BOCC could not do that this past Tuesday and wisely pulled back.

There is an article in the Herald today on the BOCC discussion:

Steve- there are estimates from both Carrboro and Chapel Hill on annual costs to truck waste up to Hwy 70. These are in one of the BOCC documents. I don't have the link handy at the moment.

The variables discussed Mar. 2nd [PDF] by the SWAB involved:

Access to interstate/major road transport corridor
Appropriate zoning
Employee welfare and working conditions
Health and safety compliance
Community relations
Financial soundness
Capacity (surge)
Multiple product process capability
Residue rates

It appears, though, that the first flag went up Oct. 5th as Al Vickers is quoted at the SWAB meeting saying:

Vickers states that he wrote a letter to the Town of Carrboro Alderman about how inefficient it would be to travel far and that it would have a fiscal impact on them. I didn't tell them a specific location but just that they had to realize there would be an impact based on location.

Looking on Carrboro's website, I couldn't find Vickers letter which might've had some estimates.

As far as the SWAB's online minutes, I didn't find any further references to specific costs. That said, it could've been in supplementary materials NOT include in the minutes (something common with the BOCC minutes!).

BTW, links to 17 years worth of LOG and 1 years worth of SWAB minutes here.

One last thing, can anyone point me towards the references to a "Landfill Methane Gas Taskforce" , it was referenced in this ORANGE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS JANUARY 22, 2005 [PDF] retreat agenda. Was that the same thing as the " 5590 - LANDFILL GAS RECOVERY" group?

With all due respect the variables listed above from SWAB meeting in March 06 was not about the Transfer Station.

You will find references to Carrboro and CH trucks being unable to handle interstate hauling to the Durham Transfer Station in May 06 minutes.

Absolutely right Steve. It was within the context of a discussion of "Principles/Values for Selection of MRF to Process Orange County Recyclables".

I apologize for the confusion.

I should've edited more closely and said that in addition to Vicker's comment about the letter to the BOA this other discussion was one I found pertaining to transport corridors.

Randy Kabrick did mention $100/barrel oil in another place - so transportation costs might've been discussed more broadly and the minutes don't reflect it or it might've been discussed prior/post to the online minutes (haven't had the time to run up to Hillsborough to look at the hardcopies ;-)).

Material Recovery Facility (MRF).

In the site evaluation summary that the commissioners gave the towns, the numbers they gave for "Hauling cost estimates (represent additional cost estimates above/beyond present costs)" were: Chapel Hill: $193,200 annually plus $395,600 in start-up costs for route expansions Carrboro: $142,000 annually.

That works out to roughly $8.50 extra per household annually. I would be disappointed if the relatively wealthy people of Chapel Hill and Carrboro gave weight to that amount of money with respect to all of the other issues involved.

Thanks Charlie, could you post a link to that document? Was there a discussion of how the transit costs were evaluated? Was rail discussed?

I know Blair used to read OP - he's on the support staff for SWAB - maybe if he's lurking (Blair?) he could help direct our attention towards the relevant docs....

what kind of infrsturture is going to have to be put in place for 18 wheelers going up and down the roads . i dont think dot will pay to upgrade the road . who pays for the upgrades to these roads? orange county tax payers and what if another county wants to haul there trash to our site and use it as a transfer station do you think orange county is going to turn away money i dont think so.

Where will our trash end up?

Mark, does my idea about developing a "center of excellence" in managing a particular waste stream - say e-waste or biomass conversion - have merit?

So for every 500 tons of "trash" we ship out we process 1 ton of e-waste at our specialized facility to kind of keep everything in a karmic balance, so to speak. As far as biomass conversion - there's a regional facility in Texas that makes bio-diesel for municipal purposes and sales.

It would take a long term plan to do this but it should help assuage folks concerns about dumping our problem on someone else...

Maybe every one else knew this already, but today I learned that when the landfill closes, not all aspects of the operations at Eubanks will also close. For example, the household hazardous waste collection and recycling processing will remain open at Eubanks as will the construction and demolition portion of the landfill. I believe the yard waste composting will also stay put.

So even if the BOCC decides to spend X millions of dollars to purchase a new site, Eubanks will still remain an industrial site--we'll just have two industrial sites processing all of our trash instead of one. And we'll be paying to have part of our trash hauled to one site and part hauled to another site. Plus that portion of the trash taken to the transfer facility that should have been recycled will have to be driven back to Eubanks.

It would be interesting to know how many trips will be eliminated from Eubanks Road if a new site is selected.

My previous question was a serious one. I'm wondering if anybody knows where our trash is slated to go when it leaves the future transfer station. I assume it isn't going to Alexandria, VA or suburban Atlanta, but to some god-forsaken boondock. In discussing locations for a transfer station in Orange County, we find ourselves potentially choosing environmental injustice for faceless & nameless people somewhere else over environmental injustice for a community we know. If it turns out that way, I can't see any reason to feel good about the situation.

In my opinion we need to suck it up & research the best-designed, least-intrusive small landfills in the world (European would be my guess), research ways to further reduce our trash generation, and locate two low-impact facilities here in Orange County.

There are 10 private landfills within 150 miles of us that, as I understand it, would get primary consideration, 8 in NC, 2 in VA.

The nearest is in Rougemont.

"best-designed, least-intrusive small landfills"? Seems that I hear someone with your same initials advocating for that 15 years ago.

my question is serious too

my ? was serious too

I sent the following e-mail to the Orange County BOC, copying the Carrboro BOA, the Chapel Hill Town Board, N&O, the Chapel Hill Herald, WTVD, WRAL, Channel 17 News and CNN.

An open e:mail to the Orange County Board of Commissioners:

On Tuesday evening, at the Orange County BOC meeting in Hillsborough it became glaringly apparent there was a complete failure of do diligence in the Waste Transfer Station site selection process. In fact there was no real process at all. Chairman Carey, 2 years of talking is not a process, it was just 2 years of talking and no basis for a decision.

Unfortunately if this failure is allowed to stand the people who will most directly carry the consequences and burden will be the working class African American community on Rogers Road, the same people who have carried the burden of the county's landfill for 34 years. There is absolutely no way to deny that this failure to act professionally is in itself an act of environmental injustice. There is much irony in that Orange County is considered the most progressive county in North Carolina, and home to Senator Edwards and his Presidential Campaign which is centered around helping the "Other America".

My anger was apparent at the meeting and still apparent in this e-mail, I make no apologies. I am not a politician or a policy wonk. Nor do I make a pretense of tactful persuasion. My wife's parents lived their lives in north central Philadelphia and were 50 plus year members of the Zion Baptist Church which was led for many years my the late Reverend Leon Sullivan. When visiting my in-laws they would bring us to the church even though I am not a Christian. Listening to Reverend Sullivan was always an education and an inspiration. In my early twenties I remember Reverend Sullivan talking about personal integrity and professional integrity and that both were tied hand in hand. He told us that we can not claim to have one without the other. He was relating this concept from his involvement with American and international business executives and political leaders.

It became obvious in Tuesday's meeting that the Waste Transfer siting process had , no professional integrity, no intellectual integrity, no moral or ethical integrity and formed no solid basis for any decision. Chairman Cary, in your e-mail response of 2/17/07 to my request of all the leaders of this community to take as stand on this issue, you said to quote:

"... it would be premature and unethical in my opinion for any elected official to respond to you as you have requested prior to considering all information which must be considered to make an informed decision on this matter."

With all due respect, by calling for a vote on this issue on Tuesday you were violating your own stated ethical standard. It is clear The Orange County BOC nor anyone else for that matter has all the facts needed to make an informed decision. It is now in the open that the Orange County BOC has never directed anyone or any group to get all the facts.

It is also misleading that the BOC can only start "mitigation talks" to compensate the Rogers Road community after a site is chosen. The Rogers Road community has already earned that compensation through their 34 years of sacrifice. Why should they have to acquiesce to a Waste Transfer Station to receive compensation? Discussions can start whenever the BOC decides to do so.

It was also clear that Commissioner Foushee, Commissioner Jacobs and Commissioner Gordon were struggling with what they witnessed Tuesday night. Commissioner Foushee was the first to speak with eloquence and concern, articulating her distress on the deficiencies of the process to date. She expressed the desire to get this right. If an academic study were to be conducted on the right and wrong ways to site a waste facility as things currently stand Greensboro would be the case study of the right way and Orange County would be the contrasting case study on how get it all wrong. I am asking all the commissioners: Are you proud of where we are on this issue? Are you proud of how we got here? Is this an example of good governance?

If each of you abide the principle of tying personal and professional integrity together then you have no choice but to vote against siting the Waste Transfer Station on Eubanks Road. You have no choice but to restart the siting process.

David Richter


Definitely - we should explore a varied menu of ways to handle waste - including those you mentioned. E-waste & biomass centers could potentially be economic growth positives and help us contribute to the overall situation.

Also, how does trucking waste out-of-county square with all the efforts to mitigate global warming?

Kinda surprised there hasn't been any discussion about this today, but the Orange BOCC approved siting of the waste transfer station on Eubanks Road last night. See CAC

From the N&O article: "Commissioners were up against a tight deadline to approve a site for the station -- where the county's trash will be moved from collection trucks to tractor-trailers that will haul the garbage away. A consultant estimates that it will take 38 months to get a transfer station up and running, about the same amount of time the county has left on the current landfill. Though two other sites in the northern part of the county also were under consideration, the Eubanks Road site was the only one that had been studied enough to know that a transfer station could work there."

I wonder if the consultant's estimate of 38 months was based on a typical 40-hr workweek. I would hope that the consultant might have also calculated the length of time and the cost of getting a station up and running if it was done using a 60-hr workweek. This would, of course, add substantial expense to the cost of the station but I certainly hope that such an option was at least considered given the social injustice that is occurring here.

I wish we could step back from this a little bit and look at the full complexity of the issue.

First, buying the land for a new transfer station was going to run into the millions. For a county that is struggling to pay for any kind of infrastructure other than schools, that is a significant investment to add to the construction price of what is going to be an expensive facility to build. By using the property at Eubanks, we avoided additional cost.

Second, even if the new transfer station was built elsewhere, Eubanks would stay open as a daily operation for construction waste, recycling processing, and yard waste composting. Due to the recycling operation, there would have been multiple trips daily between the transfer station and Eubanks. That's a lot of additional funds for fuel, in addition to the associated pollution. The trucks do not get good mileage and they use diesel fuel. Expense, pollution, and health impacts. Marc ter Horst is trying to calculate the GHG emissions from transport from the facility to central VA, but those calculations need to include the multiple daily trips back and forth between a Hwy 70 site and Eubanks to be accurate.

Third, after trying to site a landfill in Orange County and failing as a result of their efforts to support environmental justice for county residents, the (very bad IMHO) decision was made to ship our community waste out of county. Then claims of environmental justice were imposed on the transfer station. Looks like a trend to me. No one wants to deal with other peoples trash. So no matter what decision was made, someone was going to be very very unhappy. Under those conditions, why isn't it the best solution to take the lower cost, most efficient site as the best solution? Maybe the new transfer station could have been built on over-time but at an even higher cost. Then the associated tax increases would have imposed even more financial stress of low-income citizens than we already have.

My criticism of the commissioners is that they mishandled the process. Instead of apologizing they should feel like they made the right decision, regardless of how unpopular it is. And they need to go much much farther in providing reparations to the residents of Rogers Road.

All that said, I still think we should be building a new landfill in Orange County.


I wasn't arguing for or against the decision by the BOCC. I was only suggesting that if the decision was being made now only because of the 38 month build-out process hanging over their heads, then if that process could be shortened and allow a more extensive analysis of the options available, I would favor the latter approach. Perhaps the BOCC has as much information as they are ever going to have and, given that the landfill will be filled in 2010, the option chosen was the only realistic one. If that is indeed the case I hope that everything possible will be done to somehow "compensate" the adjoining neighborhoods for not only what they've had to deal with in the past but what they will be dealing with going forward.

Did anyone ask why our transfer station is taking so much longer to build than Greensboro's

From Greensboro's 2005 "year in review" wrap-up they fore-casted 1 year:

A New Transfer Station Underway

The City of Greensboro began construction of the new Solid Waste Transfer Station, 6310 Burnt Poplar Road, during the month of August. The Transfer Station is the result of a resolution adopted by City Council in 2001 stating the White Street Landfill should not be the only waste disposal option for the City of Greensboro. Following an in depth study, the City concluded that a transfer station was the best alternative to land filling at the White Street Landfill. The new station is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2006.

And actually delivered by September

Construction of the transfer station began in August 2005 and was finished in September 2006 at a cost of $8 million. Designed by HDR Engineering Inc. of the Carolinas and constructed by Laughlin-Sutton Construction, Inc., the station can process up to 1,200 tons of trash per day.
Residents will pay more for trash collection due to the cost of constructing the station, hauling the trash to the Uwharrie landfill, and paying the tipping fee at the Uwharrie landfill.

Yet, based on this timeline, the OC has budgeted 18 months.

BTW, Uwharrie? Here's a little background.

Acoording to the NC Division of Waste Management permitting database, the drawings were submitted for permitting about 1 month ahead of time.

The OC timeline shows about 20+ months for design and permitting.

Unless we're getting a gold-plated facility incredibly different than Greensboro's the timeline doesn't add up.

What now fellow citizens?

The BOCC has spoken and will have a Transfer Station on Eubanks.

How will we compensate the Rogers Rd community?

How will we address the safety/congestion/traffic issues, present and future, on Eubanks and the I40 interchange at MLK?

How will we deal with the waste issues in a rapidly growing Orange County?

The vote was taken without getting official input from Carrboro's BOA or Chapel Hill's TC. That was wrong. My gut tells me BOCC wanted to vote without any further debate and the CH TC and the Carrboro BOA were glad to see them vote before giving an "official response". I still would like an up or down vote. Is there going to be a vote?

The entire process was flawed. Once again I invite interested citizens to read the minutes from meetings of SWAB last year. The sense of urgency is not there; only a sense of that Eubanks was the ONLY answer.

Intergovernmental and interagency decisions need co-ordination and comprehensive planning. The many uses and problems Eubanks Rd faces are a product of too little planning and thought as to the future impact of decisions being made by our communities, towns, county and state.

I came to this fight late. Shame on me. Shame on us all if we do not take the time to stay informed, pick our battles and be part of the process. In this case the citizens needed to force their way into the process much earlier.

I will say again that elected officials have a "thankless" job. They know it comes with the job. They also know they are accountable to the electorate for their decisions.
I am not a one issue voter but this is one I will remember my next time in the voting booth.

First- I know little to nothing about solid waste. Would a transfer center at the Eno Economic Development District, which has a rail spur of the NCRR mainline and seems to be mostly surrounded by trees or industrial uses, make sense?

Roanoke, Virginia has a trash train that makes a daily run to a landfill from a transfer center.

I recognize that this still takes the trash out of county, and requires trucking from all parts of Orange County to the Eno EDD. However, pulling a X-car trash train to rural VA or wherever our trash is headed might be a little more efficient than sending dozens of trucks from Eubanks to VA.

I can't speak for others, but I, for one, am not "glad to see them vote before giving an 'official response.'"

I have to say I was taken by surprise by Tuesday's vote. I had expected, quite incorrectly, that the BOCC was about to embark upon a broader site search with clear criteria. This is, in part, what Mayor Chilton called for in his letter above and with which I concurred.

I had thought we had more time to gauge where the BOCC was headed and to craft an appropriate resolution. Would it have made a difference if we had acted sooner? I doubt it. Clearly, Mayor Chilton's letter did not influence the decision.

I also want to commend Alderman Haven O'Donnell who has been in regular communication with Reverend Campbell and other Rogers Road neighbors and who has made great effort to help convey their concerns to the commissioners. Those efforts may well have helped inform the list of compensation items included in Tuesday's resolution.

Patrick, excellent question that several folks raised throughout this process. Unless there was some response at the most recent BOCC meeting, the issue never got a decent airing.

Terri is correct that developing one of the alternative sites might cost us more to start with (though, absent plans for the transfer station, it's difficult to determine if a little economizing here or there might make those sites more economically feasible).

What's missing, though, in that analysis - and in the BOCC's - is the cost of expanding services at the transfer station site and the possibility that siting it at Eubanks might preclude other waste management related development.

For instance, reprocessing existing landfills is catching on, especially in Europe. "There's gold in them thar hills", so to speak. Would we have room to site such a facility 10 years out if we build the transfer station at Eubanks? Same question as it pertains to a methane recovery plant.

Again, it would be nice to see the notes where those questions were asked and the specific, fact ladened answers documented.

Racist Democrats. That is all there is to it.

I'm so glad you've figured it out so none of us have to think anymore, jmk.


I appreciate your statement and Mayor Chilton's letter.

With all due respect all I think all elected officals felt this was a forgone conclusion. Mayor Chilton's letter almost concedes the issue to BOCC. His comment that " the County staff has clearly done a lot of homework on some possible sites " clearly was inaccurate. Still he was the only elected offical to state in writing or personally his opinion to the BOCC on this issue. For that he gets my thanks.

Having listened to the Carrboro BA discussion on this issue delay was the only outcome for a offical response. Clealy the BOCC was not going to delay in making a decision.

That this decision was fast tracked was no surprise to anyone who had been following it closely. Given your knowledge of this issue I am surprised you were surprised that the BOCC acted.

Will the Carrboro Board of Aldermen now take a formal position?

Don't you mean, start thinking?

Steve, by "some possible sites" I meant a few possible sites - three that I know of. And in that sense my statement was correct. But this is decidedly a semantic point.

Terri, it was not the cry of 'environmental racism' that prevented a second landfill from being built on Eubanks Road. It was the wrangling of Duke University lawyers who did that. They gave a 'research easement' to NASA which would have put Orange County in the position of condemning property that was partly owned by teh Federal Government - which cannot be done.

As for those who say we should have built a landfill in our own community, I agree, but I just have to point out that some of us spent a lot of time trying to do just that. I was involved in that process for six years and in the end all we came up with was that there were three possible sites - one that was made impossible by Duke/NASA and two that were made impossible by threatened interference from the Town of Hillsborough. In other words, that process ultimately came to nothing.

I am not saying that the task of siting a landfill in Orange County is impossible, but it is the living essence of that which is more easily said than done. And I note that, so far as I know, all those who have called for a landfill instead of a transfer station were those who were not involved in the previous site search (excepting Marcoplos). That's because the last landfill site search proved to be so utterly pointless.

We might better have listened to Marcoplos back then, as the search that happened in the 1990's looked for larger sites than what Mark is referring to. I guess we will never know whether a search for a small landfill site would be (or would have been) fruitful. Maybe so, maybe not. The politics of landfill site opposition are pretty straightforward and very ugly.

The ball is now clearly in the Chapel Hill Town Council's court, as this new facility will require permits from them. The County had better start working with the surrounding neighborhoods right away.

My estimates on % increase in fuel use on STP are certainly up for debate. I compared bringing trash to two transfer sites and then transfering that trash to the center of VA (as a point of reference). Clearly an approximation, it appears a HWY 70 site would require ~20% more fuel overall than the Eubanks site.

Terri- I didn't know about the excess garbage from the recycling efforts at Eubanks that needed to go to a transfer station. Maybe a tractor trailer could transport to VA directly from the recycling at Eubanks. :)

The exercize proved to me the miles traveled by local trucks (at 1-2mpg) have a greater impact than miles traveled by 5-8 fewer tractor trailers (at 5-8mpg) from OC to VA. And I agree with Mr. Nelson that fewer GHG would be generated by using the Eubanks site over one along HWY 70.

However, by estimating an average distance traveled to the Eubanks site, it appears we will burn ~100% more fuel than we are today to transfer trash to VA. In the long run, siting a new landfill in OC, although not at all trivial and probably not possible before Eubanks is full, would be the best way to reduce GHG emissions.

We do need to find a way to economically use the landfill gas.

Following Mr. Nelson's logic, then the station needs to be put in the center of town, or at least the "trash center".


The recycling materials don't go to VA. All collected trash will go to the transfer station for separation. Stuff for landfilling will go to wherever; recycling will go to the facility at Eubanks as will white goods, cardboard, any construction type waste, etc. So your GHG emissions calculations from the site on Hwy 70 would need to account for trips back and forth between that site and Eubanks along with the trips to VA.

Mark C--as the story of the efforts to site a new landfill were told to me, it became a matter of environmental justice between urban and rural portions of the community. I was away in grad school during that time so I wasn't in town to follow the process--only know what I've been told.

Don't get me wrong, you are right that the environmental justice issue was central to the discussion at that time, but Duke's maneuvering was the deciding factor.

Terri- The recycling and trash are picked up in different trucks, so there is no need to account for back and forth trips to separate loads.

As of now, the recycling picked up from your home is already being driven up to Raleigh for separating, illustrating that the distance we cart stuff is really a Red Herring. Obviously recycling/trash can be driven rather long distances, and, as of now, the same people who obsessed about GHG and highway 70 have no problems sending our recycling to Raleigh in the very same trucks that pick it up. It seems that minimizing distance is only key when it involves yet another justification for placing something on Eubanks, and not always a matter of prime importance in the large scope of things.


Are you telling me that when the municipally owned trucks get to the transfer station and find materials that have not been properly separated out for recycling that they will be treated as trash? I'm hearing different stories from people on SWAB.

Municipal employees are not responsible for sorting anyone's trash. All of us as individuals are responsible for our own solid waste. Consequently, Carrboro does not collect trash carts or dumpsters that have significant quantities or cardboard in them. Instead, such carts or dumpsters are left uncollected and their owners are required to correct the problem. There is no sorting of trach at the landfill by municipal haulers or by landfill staff. This is because the cost of at-landfill (or at-transfer station) sorting is far, far higher than the cost of source-separation of recyclable materials. We all have to take individual responsibility for source-separation of recyclables.


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