08 GarbageWhen City of Fayetteville garbage trucks and those that serve rural areas hit the road four days a week, they eventually end up at the Cumberland County Landfill on Ann Street, not far from Downtown. The 300-acre property was opened in the 1980s. More than 80 acres are currently in use for two so-called cells, one to contain household waste and the other for commercial and industrial waste.

County government owns and operates solid waste facilities. It just spent $8 million preparing two new Ann Street landfill cells, having closed two others and topping them with a foot of dirt. The new cells are opening this week. “They’ll have a total capacity of a million cubic yards of trash,” said Solid Waste Manager Jerod Roberts. Each new cell is lined with plastic to prevent contents from leaching into the earth. Eighty thousand tons of household garbage and trash of all sorts are buried in these cells each year. About half of the land is still available with a life expectancy of at least 16 years, said Roberts.

A county enterprise fund amounting to millions of dollars a year supports the landfill, a yard waste processing facility and 17 rural roadside disposal sites. Additionally, the department accumulates between $700,000 and $1 million a year in a fund balance, or surplus. That money is used to purchase expensive equipment and to maintain the facility while providing for future needs. The annual solid waste disposal fee went up July 1 from $48 to $56. That’s in addition to a significant fee increase for city residents. But, remember, the city collects the garbage; the county disposes of it. Many other fees have gone up also, including the cost of individually disposing of household trash and other items.

Additional fees are also charged for commercial and industrial waste. It’s $38 a ton compared to $20 for a pickup load of household trash. Roberts chuckled when told during an interview that a tax by any other name is a tax. Watch out for what’s called a special handling fee. It’s $100.

The county sells two kinds of mulch at the yard waste processing center, 771 Wilkes Rd. Screened compost costs $20 a pickup load. Red mulch is $60 a pickup load. Cumberland County’s roadside container service surprised Roberts when he came to town in November of 2016. He previously worked in Virginia and Maryland and had never seen such a large network of rural disposal sites. “They’ve been around so long though, we could never change that,” he said. Roberts said about 40 percent of all the garbage taken in by the county is generated at the 17 convenience sites — 80,000 tons of the total 180,000 tons disposed of annually.

A complete schedule of solid waste fees is available on line at www.co.cumberland.nc.us/solid_waste. aspx. For more information, call (910) 321-6920.

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