Carter County Recycling Center hit by fire

John Thompson • Aug 5, 2019 at 10:58 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Carter County’s recycling program is currently not operating as.a result of a fire on Saturday night at the recycling center on Cherokee Park Drive.

The fire was one of the topics discussed Monday evening by the Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission.

Landfill manager Benny Lyons, who also oversees the recycling center, said the building sustained significant damage from the fire. The building is part of the old water treatment plant of the Bemberg Rayon factory.

Lyons said the fire burned the office that is inside the building. A large metal garage-stye door was also damaged.

The fire is being investigated by the Elizabethton Fire Department. The recycling center was insured by Carter County, and insurance adjustors have already been on the scene.

Carter County has had a successful recycling effort for many years and also provides the outlet for the recycling efforts of the city of Elizabethton.

Lyons briefed the Landfill Committee, but it is still too early to know the extent of the damage or how long it will take to get recycling operations in the city and county back up to full speed.

Meanwhile, Lyons briefed the committee on another type of heat that is affecting landfill operations. He told the committee that certain groups have been attacking him and the landfill on Facebook. The main complaint has been the number of nails that have been laid down on landfill roads, with roofing companies hauling old shingles to the demolition site in the landfill being blamed for causing most of the nails.

The Facebook criticism has been so heated that there had even been a mention of closing the demolition site. The facility is nearly at its capacity and only has a few more years before it will have to be closed. No action was taken to close the demolition site during Monday’s committee meeting.

Lyons said his workers drag large magnets mounted on trucks to get as many of the nails off the landfill roads as possible, but said the next load of discarded shingle could spread more nails on the roads.

One thing the committee said that could help would be strict enforcement of the requirement to place tarps on loads going into the landfill. Lyons told the committee that he had recently been to a landfill that charged a fee of $20 on any load to the landfill that was not covered with a tarp.

County Commission Robert Acuff, who represents Stoney Creek, the district that includes the landfill, said his constituents complain about loads being hauled untarped to the landfill on the Stoney Creek Highway. He said such loads frequently cause littering problems on the highway.

Lyons said signs are posted warning motorists of the nail problem.

In other matters, Lyons said the rebuild of the Roan Mountain Convenience Station should be completed in October. He said the work on the new buildings will include work by students of Hampton High School’s art and design courses, taught by Daniel Arnett. His students drew up the plans approved by the state last year.

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