During her report at the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority’s regular monthly meeting last week, Deputy Executive Director Greta Curry brought the board up to date on the progress being made regarding the Mingo County Commission’s recent request that the MCRA assist in helping mitigate the county’s litter problem.
Curry said the reason the MCC made the request for the double-team effort was to further the county’s attempts to improve quality of life for its residents, as well as to help boost tourism and business recruitment efforts.
Curry said she contacted the DEP to learn more about existing programs that could assist the county in this endeavor.
“Last week I had a call with the DEP’s Division of Wastewater and Solid Waste permitting supervisor to discuss the requirements and permitting process of putting a solid waste transfer station in the county,” she said. “Pike County (Kentucky) has the transfer station and McDowell County has their large landfill, but there’s nothing here in Mingo County for the solid waste disposal.”
Curry said she was informed that one of the first steps the county would be required to do is submit a certificate of need (CON) to the West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC).
This CON, she explained, would include geographical data of the area being served, monthly solid waste tonnage that is anticipated at the transfer station, and the number of residents it would serve, as well as other criteria.
Should the CON be approved and attained, she said, the county would then be required to apply for a certificate of site approval.
“Once these two certificates have been provided, then the county would then notify their regional waste board and the DEP, then the county would complete a DEP application for a non-disposal facility,” she said.
Curry said the DEP application would include review of both the CON and certificate of site approval, along with site design plans and other environmental requirements information.
“The DEP application takes about six months for approval, which I was told the certificate of need would likely be approved because there is no other transfer station in the county,” she said.
MCAA Administrative Assistant Leigh Ann Ray said the county has been attempting to get as many as four transfer stations for several years now but to date has not been successful getting even one.
She said the county hired an experienced PSC lawyer to secure a first transfer station but that ultimately Waste Management, who is the county’s garbage pickup service provider, thwarted all the MCC’s efforts.
“That’s why there’s not (a transfer station) now,” Ray said. “We even leased property from Pocahontas and we actually still have a site for a transfer station, but like I said, Waste Management blocked our application.”
Ray said the attorney contacted Waste Management in an attempt to negotiate a mutual agreement but that his phone calls were never returned.
She said when she attempted to tackle the process again later on, at that time the commission declined to rehire the attorney.
Executive Director Leasha Johnson said the MCRA was willing to help solve the county’s litter issues in any way it could, but, like Ray, agreed there likely would be very little chance of success of getting a transfer station even now without the help of an attorney.
She said the MCRA would contact the Commission to relate last Thursday’s discussion and further emphasize these points.
“It’s not like we haven’t tried…I have traveled all over this state and visited different transfer stations and gathered information, but in the end we got stonewalled,” Ray said.
Ray said she personally would not take on the task again without an attorney to help with the process.
“It could very well be that in the amount of time that has gone by that there are different members on the PSC and DEP and that it wouldn’t be the way it was then,” she said. “But it’s still going to be a very daunting challenge.”