“We’ve got dumpsites all over the county and if we’re going to be in the solid waste business, we better do it right,” said Chris Wagner.
Wagner and 16 residents in the Cardwell area were present at the June 22 solid waste board meeting to address the Cardwell dumpsite. Wagner stated the appearance of the site “looks pathetic” because of overflowing trash.
“I go by that dumpsite every day and it just gets more and more plum full of debris and sits there for three or four days,” Wagner said. “We have to change that – we see it everyday and we don’t need to see it.”
Residents addressed the solid waste board at the meeting asking what could be done to control the overflow of trash and keep people who are not Madison County residents from utilizing the site. Everything from constructing a fence around the site to signs to enforcing a fine was suggested.
“We realize this is a problem and we’re trying to figure out how to best handle it throughout the whole county,” said Richard “Tikker” Jones, board chair.
Wagner said he believes the best way to fix the problem is to put a barrier around the site and have it monitored.
“I really believe it needs to be fenced and manned and only have it open a couple days a week to make sure the site doesn’t get abused,” he said, adding fencing the area and manning the site would be cheaper for the county than having to run extra loads to the landfill.
Sue Heald, solid waste board member, said if the site needs to be manned, it could result in a hike in fees.
“If we have to hire more people, that could mean an increase in fees,” she said. “I just want people to be aware of that.”
The last increase in solid waste fees was in 2009, according to Kacey Smart, with the sanitarian’s office. The fee increased from $94 to the current rate, $118.
The Cardwell site, however, is not the only location that has the board concerned. The Palisades site also suffers with overflow problems.
“I went there after Memorial Day weekend and people had piled garbage on top of the closed lid,” said Steve Primm. “It’s idiotic and almost spiteful.”
Jones said the next step would be to talk to the county commissioners, as well as look at solutions available in the solid waste budget.
“Trash is a big deal and people can’t be dumping it on the side of the road,” said Wagner. “We have to fix the problem – it’s a matter of responsibility.”
A push for recycling within the county, starting within county buildings, is still ongoing – Heald addressed the board members with a finalized draft before heading to the commissioners.
Currently, the county receives money back on most recyclables. In 2016, the county hauled 84 tons of recyclables, resulting in just over $4,000. Fifty-three of those 84 tons came from cardboard. The county also recycles paper and aluminum products, as well as plastic.
One of the main proposals of the recycling push would be to have someone in each office or county building designated to handle recycling once a week to once a month, according to the plan Heald presented.
“We’ve estimated it to be about one hour a month,” said Heald, who figured the extra hour a month per 15 county buildings plus cost per mile would average around $7,675 a month. “The other option is to have the janitors take it on under their workload,” she said.
Rebecca Ramsey, Ruby Watershed Coordinator, would be contracted by the board to help promote the recycling program and handle public relations. She said there needs to be a change on a cultural level.
“We need to change the culture around recycling and need our county leaders to initiate that change and lead by example,” she said.
The proposal would be under a one-year pilot program, which Heald said would allow problems that arise to be addressed.
“When those issues come up, we can address them and work through them,” Heald said.
“We have to start somewhere,” added Jones. “We need to show the county the direction we want to go and reduce our strain on the landfill sites.”
The board agreed to have Heald formally approach the commissioners about a recycling push in the county.