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NHCo. Commissioners Vote to Expand Landfill, Develop Long-Term Waste Management Plan

A truck pulls into the now-defunct Wastec plant.

On Tuesday, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners moved forward with plans to tackle the county’s ongoing trash issues.

The board unanimously approved a special use permit that green lights the next steps to expand the county’s current landfill.

The county’s landfill is north of the Battleship between highway 421 and the Cape Fear River.  Right now, it has only five years left on its lifespan.  The permit is the next step in a plan to add 90 acres to the existing landfill, which is projected to cost $27 million.  The commission approved the permit and directed staff to devise a comprehensive solid waste management plan, which would incorporate more recycling and sustainable models. Chairman Woody White says burning trash is definitely not the long-term solution.

“The fact that we are the only incinerator in the state is notable. We know that it pollutes. So we’re not on to some secret technology here. Continuing to pump money into a failing enterprise because we think wrongfully that it’s correct, is the wrong way to spend taxpayer money.

With the permit approved, the department of environmental management will now finalize engineering and design plans for the proposed expansion, which can take up to two years. Then, it will submit an application to the state department of environment and natural resources which takes a year to 18 months. County staff will return to commissioners with its ideas for a comprehensive solid waste management plan in the next four to five months.

CORRECTION: The proposed landfill expansion is 277 acres, not 90 acres as reported earlier. The plan includes 90 acres for nine new disposal cells.