CHAPEL HILL – The Orange County landfill will close at the end of June and the county’s Solid Waste Department is working to inform the public about this change.
Gayle Wilson, solid waste management department director for Orange County, says the county has pushed for other landfill and waste treatment options locally for years now, but those efforts were always met with resistance.
Wilson contrasts this with feedback from Orange County locals who believe that they should not ship their garbage outside the county.
“That’s good in theory, but it hasn’t been able to be implemented because of severe resistance to sighting facilities,” Wilson said.
In the meantime, Wilson and the rest of the solid waste department are telling residents what other available dumps they can use, including two transfer stations inside Durham County and a landfill near Roxboro.
Although the Orange County landfill itself will be closed, the property it is on has other solid waste-related facilities that will stay in use, including the convenience center, which collects hazardous waste, compost, old clothes and other reusable wastes.
“We are currently in the preliminary design stage of a process that will improve that center and modernize it,” Wilson said. “Similar to the one we just finished constructing on Walnut Grove Church Road north of Hillsborough.”
Orange County currently has an agreement with Durham County to use its landfills for the next five years, at which point the county will have to explore new waste treatment options.
“The cost of long-hauling to out-of-county facilities, over time, will become fairly significant, so I believe they will have to face the transfer station at some point,” Wilson said. “It may be five years from now, but at some point I think they’ll have to look at it.”
But, Wilson says he’s highly skeptical the county will sight a transfer station or landfill before that time runs out.
“I would say the likelihood of finding a new landfill sight in Orange County is as close to nil as you can get,” Wilson said.
After its closure, the landfill property will still be accepting construction and demolition waste, as well as a center to take and recycle old mattresses and box springs.