Carter Co. landfill events set; officials focus on recycling, outlook

John Thompson • Feb 13, 2012 at 6:49 AM

ELIZABETHTON — The Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission has set some short-range plans for the annual spring clean up and long-range plans for the next five years.

There will be two upcoming spring events. The spring cleanup in April is an annual countywide effort to clean up roads, lots, rivers and other areas where litter has collected.

It has been customary during these cleanups to waive the tipping fees at the landfill to guarantee widespread participation in the countywide effort. There will be one exception this year. The committee voted Tuesday to no longer accept old tires for free. Tires will still be accepted, but the normal fee will be charged. Committee members John Lewis and Charles Von Cannon voted against charging for tire disposal.

Last year the landfill accepted eight tires per household for free during the cleanup.

Landfill Manager Benny Lyons said this was abused, with cases where a husband brought in eight tires, his wife brought eight more and others brought in more tires. In all, Lyons said 5,300 tires were brought to the landfill during the cleanup.

The problem is that the landfill had to take funds from its operating revenue in order to transport the tires to a legal disposal site. He said the cost of disposing a truckload of tires is $1,400.

The second event this spring will be a hazardous household waste collection that will be held on May 19 at the recycling center in the Cherokee Industrial Park. Lyons said the collection will be for all the normal hazardous materials except for paint. He said neither latex or oil-based paints will be collected.

The committee also has been working on improvements to help keep the county cleaner through recycling. The new recycling center is now operational at the Carter County Landfill. It includes a large bin for depositing metal, including kitchen and household appliances. There are also three smaller bins to deposit cardboard, mixed paper and plastics coded 1 and 2, which include beverage bottles and other plastic containers.

Lyons said two bins have been placed at each of the county schools. One of the containers is for the waste paper and one is for cardboard. When more bins are purchased the city schools will also be included.

To collect the recycled material from the bins, the landfill recently purchased a used 1989 model front-loader garbage truck for $5,500. The landfill staff has given the vehicle a fresh coat of paint and made some minor repairs. “We got a great deal,” Lyons said.

Sheriff Chris Mathes said he is helping with the recycling program at the schools by working with local businesses and organizations to purchase 800 small containers that will be distributed to each classroom. He said these durable containers, which will store recyclable waste paper, should be received in about three weeks.

Mathes is also reviving an antilitter skit that was well received a couple of years ago in which high school students perform for elementary students.

Landfill Committee Chairman Joel Street also discussed longrange plans and a mission statement.

The mission statement is to “provide Carter County residents with sanitary means of solid waste and recycling disposal.”

The goals include updating equipment as needed, streamlining the recycling effort, operating solid waste and recycling programs without a lot of tax support, and through recycling, reducing the county’s disposal tonnage by 25 percent.

Street said the long-range goals are to help expand the recycling program to accept more material.

To improve efficiency, he said compactors need to be placed at the county’s two convenience centers in Roan Mountain and Elk Mills. The center at Elk Mills needs to be moved to a more accessible location.

Some of the upcoming capital expenditures include replacing the landfill’s roll-off truck, which now has more than 900,000 miles on it. Other expenditures will include repairing the transfer station loading chute, repaving the landfill road from the entrance gate to the transfer station, replacing the weight scales used to determine tipping fees, developing a conveyor system for recyclables at the Recycling Center and purchasing more roll-off containers and two motors.

There are also some personnel goals, including creating one additional full-time position in the immediate future and bringing the landfill employee pay up to the rate of other county employees.

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