Trash Talk: Systematic is the New Watchword

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

The commissioners asked county staff to do a more exhaustive search of sites, citing solid waste management director Gayle Wilson’s statement that the process of looking for a transfer station site hadn’t been as “systematic” as previous searches for landfill space.

From today’s N&O report on last night’s (Mar. 13th) BOCC meeting.

After reviewing the Orange County Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB) and Landfill Owner’s Group minutes covering the transfer station site search, I’m more convinced than ever we need a decision matrix that incorporates more dimensions than a straight engineering site selection suggests.

That matrix should assign values to social, environmental, economic, growth, transportation impacts and assess possible sites against that more “full blooded” metric. I’ll be interested in seeing if staff will first create a new process for evaluation or tailor the current criteria to narrow the search.

The lack of a systematic approach didn’t stop BOCC member Moses Carey from pushing forward for an immediate decision:

Chairman Moses Carey had pushed the board to make a decision Tuesday, citing a time crunch. A consultant hired by the county said it will take as long as four years to get a transfer station up and running. The Eubanks Road landfill is expected to be full by late 2010.

Not quite sure why taking the time for a measured approach now will greatly delay a project scheduled for 2010. Given the current status, a delay now to select more appropriate criteria – say criteria suggested by the landfill’s current neighbors – is the most prudent path.

Draft timetable from Mar. 13th’s agenda item:

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