Dump site expansion plan dropped

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; Concerned citizens left a public hearing Monday with what they wanted when a plan to expand Triad&8217;s current waste disposal operations was dropped.

Relief came after the hour-long meeting outlining the county&8217;s two debris proposals, both of which were heavily opposed by a crowded room of about 40 community members.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors&8217; proposals included, allowing the county port to accept a higher volume of wood debris and allowing the Triad dump site to receive a restricted type of debris from all over the state.

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After concerns from water and air quality to termites imported from other areas kept coming, board President Darryl Grennell made the motion to drop the whole issue.

&8220;The board is receptive to these things and this is a learning experience,&8221; Grennell said.

&8220;That&8217;s why the law allows public hearings.&8221;

Grennell said concerns about the inspection process the debris would undergo, how the increased volume might affect the county&8217;s water supply and a possible termite infestation were enough to change his mind.

Triad&8217;s waste site located on Old Highway 84 No. 3 is currently permitted to accept class I rubbish &8212; construction debris, wood and concrete, minus asbestos and metal &8212; only from several surrounding counties and parishes.

The expansion proposal would have meant debris from Katrina-ravaged areas would be dumped or burned in Adams County. Though supervisors stressed the Triad plan and efforts to recruit a power plant &8212; Sylvan &8212; were not connected, both matters were discussed.

Under the plan, Sylvan would have burned most of the new debris coming into the county. Supervisors said the two projects were not contingent on each other though, and Grennell said Sylvan was taking the steps necessary to come here, regardless of Triad.

The majority of the residents at the hearing lived in areas close to the dumpsite.

Other issues citizens brought up included what a wood-burning power plant would do to the air in the area, what transport trucks from the port to the Triad site would do to the roads and what the financial benefits were.

The supervisors had no exact dollar figures.

&8220;If we continue to do this for the next 20 years, it&8217;s going to have an affect on the whole area,&8221; resident Dale Little said.

The proposal would have also required the port to acquire permission from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to construct a necessary transfer station to handle the additional debris.

Supervisors said the MDEQ would be responsible for making sure the expansion was safe, but that wasn&8217;t enough comfort for the residents.

&8220;I&8217;m more concerned about what my grandchildren are drinking,&8221; resident Donna Hardy said. &8220;The port will benefit, but look at all the families it will affect. People are more important than all those components.&8221;

David Mize agreed saying even testing the water after the fact wasn&8217;t good enough.

&8220;I have two small children and no amount of money coming to the port is worth my kids,&8221; Mize said.

Only supervisors Thomas &8220;Boo&8221; Campbell and Sammy Cauthen voted against the motion to void the proposal. Supervisors Henry Watts and S.E. &8220;Spanky&8221; Felter said they were against the project from the start.

&8220;We already accept this rubbish and (hazardous waste) might already be going in there anyway,&8221; Campbell said.

&8220;I&8217;m for this, but if I knew it was dangerous I wouldn&8217;t vote on it.&8221;

As the tension of the meeting continued to rise and various comments were made pointing out the negative aspects of the change, Grennell spoke up.

&8220;We accepted an inquisition about emergency help by bringing in construction debris to Natchez because we cared about those people,&8221; Grennell said.

But Grennell reviewed his concerns and ended the whole event with a quick vote.

&8220;Majority rules, no expansion,&8221; Grennell said to the crowd that immediately stood and applauded the outcome.