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Measures taken to extend life of Buncombe landfill, official says
Saturday, 16 September 2023 13:51

From Staff Reports

A report on the status of the Buncombe County landfill

was presented by Dane Pederson, Buncombe’s solid waste director, during a Sept. 1 meeting of the Asheville-based Council of Independendent Business Owners.

About 60 people attended the early-morning program that included breakfast.

Pederson began his address by praising the job performance of Buncombe Sheriff Quentin Miller, who spoke before him, but had left the meeting when his part of the program was over to return to pressing police business.

Wistfully, Pederson said, “I meant to tel the sheriff how much we (the county’s solid waste department) appreciate the support he gives us” via providing the service of his deputies — as needed — to keep the landfill safe and secure.

In his overview, Pederson then noted that the facility is located on Panther Branch Road, where the Buncombe County Landfill “is sectioned of into multiple cells and phases —  to extend the life of the landfill” on a 600-acre site.

Next, he spoke about a separate landfill that the city runs to handle “construction and demolitions waste,” which is located at the Solid Waste Management Facility, adjoining the county landfill.

“That C&D landfill is really filling up quickly due to explosion in building and population growth,” Pederson noted.

He also spoke about the amazing popularity with county residents of the county Transfer Station at 190 Hominy Creek Road in West Asheville.

Speaking generally, Pederson said it is “unlikely another landfill will be sited in Buncombe County due to political difficulty and cost of land.”

Regarding the Buncombe solid-waste landfill, he noted the following:

•  Receives about 160,000 tons of waste per year.

• Has 18-21 years of capacity remaining.

• Requires an investment of $38 million in development costs for the future.

• Has 38 acres remaining for use as a landfill.

•  Has a development cost of $1 million per acre.

As for landfill and Transfer Station disposal rates, Pederson stated the following:

• $52 per ton at the Transfer Station

• $45 per ton at the landfill

• Residential costs $2 per bag

At that point, Pederson asserted,
“We closed landfill management in Woodfin,” where the old landfill closed in 1997.”

However, he pointed out, “You have to take care of it (a closed landfil) for 30 years” after its closure.

He added, “The current facility was supposed to be a 30-year facility...We’re (set up as a) 100 percent Enterprise Fund.'

(“Under an enterprise fund, all system revenues are deposited in the enterprise fund and pledged to the payment of system obligations, including administration, debt service, operations, maintenance, community information, and other direct and indirect costs,” according to the Solid Waste Association of North America.)

As for a residential franchise agreement, he said, “We’re currently in a contract with Waste Pro (USA),” with which the current subscriber rate for solid waste pickup per household is $22.55 per month. “We have about 34,000 homes that participate.”

Pederson added tthat “we’re negotiating” a new contract with Waste Pro USA.

Among several other points of interest with the county programs he oversees Pederson spoke glowingly of what he termed the “landfill gas-to-energy program,” which, he said, “generates 1.4 megawatts from it....

“Again, landfills generate (methane) gas for way more than the 30 years after you close it.”

He also noted that the county’s recycling program is free for residents. “So we have recycled 228,800 lbs. of material in FY 2023, Weve seen that number slowly escalate over the years.”

Also, he said that with the county’s composting program, an estimated “30 percent of our waste is compost.”

Ultimately, Pederson emphasized, “The goal is to extend the life of the landfill.”

As for the future, he noted the following:

• Buncombe county is going to expand residential trash disposal at the Transfer Station by turning the County Garage next to it into another waste disposal area. 

• Buncombe is developing a five-megawatt solar farm in partnership with Duke Energy, with the project “nearing completion” and “expecting to produce electricity in 2024.”

During a question-and-answer session that followed, an unidentified man said, “I find household recycling problematic in Buncombe Counrty. I spend 30 minutes in line, justto get rid of a bag of recycling.”

”It’s something we’re looking at,” Pederson replied, in acknowledging the problem.



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