At CFEDC Forum, NHCo. Candidates Discuss Waste Problem

Sep 26, 2012

The six candidates for New Hanover County Commission discussed their ideas on economic development last night at a forum sponsored by the Cape Fear Economic Development Council. WHQR’s Sara Wood reports the candidates were asked to explain their solutions for the county’s waste disposal problem.

The clock is ticking on the lifespan of the county’s landfill. A week after the current board rejected a contract with New Jersey-based company Covanta, Tricia Vance of the Star News asked candidates how they would deal with New Hanover’s lingering waste problem. Republican candidate Beth Dawson says with only 6 years left on the current landfill, it’s critical to find economically feasible options to extend the landfill.

“I think in the meantime we should be sending that solid waste to commercial available landfills at a lower cost to our citizens, until such time we determine we can economically rebuild instead of refurbish. It’s a 30-year-old facility. 

Rob Zapple, running on the Democratic ticket, says he was disappointed by the rejected Covanta contract – because it was an opportunity to consider waste management as an energy source.

“It also, for the time, would give us the framework of a recycling program that we could use for the county. And through there we could create revenue streams through the electricity generation and the recycling, as well as extend the six years left on our landfill, we could double time right away.” 

Republican candidate Derrick Hickey says in order to keep landfill space, the county should use a transfer station as a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option.

“I myself am against burning things in our environment. One of the things that didn’t come up in these discussions was that this waste to energy treatment plant would’ve produced as much if not more sulfur dioxide, mercury and fine particles in our environment.” 

The forum was held at the WHQR Gallery. Six candidates are vying for three open seats in the November election.