Landfill floated as fix for dumping problem

Robert Knott (left), the owner of Delta Recycling Services, proposed a solution to the city’s illegal dumping woes to Mayor Shirley Washington and several council members Monday at City Hall. 
(Pine Bluff Commercial/Eplunus Colvin)
Robert Knott (left), the owner of Delta Recycling Services, proposed a solution to the city’s illegal dumping woes to Mayor Shirley Washington and several council members Monday at City Hall. (Pine Bluff Commercial/Eplunus Colvin)

Illegal dumping of trash, furniture and appliances is becoming part of the daily scenic route as commuters go to and from Pine Bluff.

In May, the Public Health and Welfare Committee brainstormed ideas to get the matter under control, suggesting that Hestand Stadium be the sole dumping site, but it ran into staffing and contamination concerns.

Robert Knott, the owner of Delta Recycling Services, proposed a solution to Mayor Shirley Washington and several council members on Monday at City Hall in an attempt to end the curbside nuisance and save the city money: a Class 4 landfill.

According to the Arkansas Division of Environment Quality, a Class 4 landfill can accept construction and demolition waste including wood, metal, brick, plaster gypsum, asphalt cement, concrete, roofing, glass, siding, rubber, vinyl and carpet.

It can allow tree waste, yard waste including leaves and grass trimmings, auto and truck bodies and parts, tires, shipping waste such as pallets, and furniture and appliances.

"We have to go to the district and get a certificate of need from the district and have that presented to ADEQ in order to do a preliminary operational plan for the Class 4," said Knott, who proposed this plan to Washington a few years ago but said it "fell by the wayside."

"In order to obtain the certificate of need, we need the city's recommendation saying it is something the city is aware of and in favor of," Knott said.

The protocol after obtaining the letter of support from both the city and the county, he added, is that he would have to submit it to the solid waste district to get a certificate of need.

Once the certificate is received, then all of the environmental impact studies would be packaged along with the preliminary operating plan that goes to the Division of Environment Quality.

"They will come down and do some testing to verify what the engineers have already found," Knott said. "The engineer will write a final draft that will be returned back to ADEQ, and they will write the letter for public notice, and construction will begin after the publication."

Council Members Bruce Lockett, Ivan Whitfield and Glen Brown Sr., who were present at the meeting, said they liked the idea and were on board.

"I think it would help instead of the proposed dumpsters being put at Hestand Stadium," Lockett said, noting that supervision would be needed at those dumpsters. "The problem you are going to have with the Hestand Stadium is the cost of manning the dumpster."

Another concern during a previous Public Health and Welfare Committee meeting was the after-hours dumping and contamination of dumpsters with forbidden waste. Once contaminated, the dumpsters would not be picked up by Waste Management.

Other current costs for Pine Bluff are the hauling fees for waste being taken approximately 70 miles outside the city limits.

"What we're talking about has nothing to do with Delta Recycling Services in the city of Pine Bluff," Knott said, adding that this would not infringe in any way on the Waste Management contract with the city.

"What we are proposing is the Class 4 landfill, which is out of city limits, about 4 miles out," he said. "If we're able to get it, we are already licensed in the state of Arkansas to recycle industrial and commercial waste."

Knott said he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars licensing his facility and that the city would not incur the cost. He added that manpower and the equipment for the operation are already in place and would come at a minimal charge compared with what the city is already paying.

"Right now I can save Urban Renewal 30[%] to 40% on what they are paying their landfill fees right now," Knott said. "Right now, the city is paying a fortune in solid waste removal."

Knott said the location of the proposed landfill would cut down the commute time to haul the waste, estimating a 10-mile trip 0ne-way.

Washington also said she liked the concept, stating that most of the illegal dumping was the result of many people not wanting to carry their waste to the landfill because of the distance and the price.

Knott said the landfill would not be open to the public but instead would be an extension of the city's current service when people take those materials to his Sixth Avenue location.

"There's a ton of benefits. We're centrally located, and the cost factor," he said.

Knott predicted the cost to be no more than $10 per cubic yard.

"The more that we can become more vertically integrated, the more efficient we can be," he said.