Local News

Holly Springs landfill a tourist attraction

Posted September 25, 2014 5:03 p.m. EDT
Updated September 25, 2014 6:29 p.m. EDT

— There are a lot of great tourist attractions in the Triangle such as free museums, beautiful parks and lakes, and lots of sports.

A landfill tour might not be the first thing that comes to mind for a stay-cation, but on Wednesday, a chilly, wet wind didn't keep tourists away from this scenic overlook near Holly Springs.

They took in the sights, all of them.

Wake County regularly offers public tours of the South Wake Landfill, and they fill up, according to its website tours are fully booked till Nov. 15.

“A landfill is not viewed as a very positive thing,” Wake County Solid Waste Management Director John Roberson said. “We’re trying to make as much of a positive out of a negative perception as we can.”

Tour guides emphasize environmental protection, from the liner system in new landfills that protect from leakage to the plant that collects methane gas from the landfill to generate electricity.

Landfills of today are not the landfills of 15, 20, 30 years ago, Roberson said.

One thing that hasn't changed about landfills is that there’s a lot of trash in there.

“This is where the simple banana peel that I throw away goes,” landfill tourist Alyson Springer said.

But the biggest lesson tourists learn is what's not in the landfill.

“We work real hard on showing people that we need to recycle as much as we can,” said Roberson.

Springer agrees, but that's not what surprised her most about her first trip to a landfill. “Before I came to the landfill, I thought, ‘this is going to smell a lot,’” Springer said. “It honestly didn't smell as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

The landfill tours are free and open to the public visit the website to register. The county is planning another day of tours later this year.