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Durham Yard-Waste Plan: More Collections, but No Compost Facility

City officials say they do not want to meet new state regulations on yard-waste runoff, but the city may expand to a weekly collection for all residents.

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DURHAM, N.C. — Durham solid waste officials say they want to expand the yard-waste collection program to all residents who have trash service and charge an extra fee to cover the cost.

At the same time, they say they are unlikely to reopen their yard-waste composting facility because of changed state regulations since a fire last year closed it down.

Donald Long, director of the Solid Waste Management Department, told the Inter-Neighborhood Council on Tuesday night that he would push the waste-collection idea when he discusses the department's budget with City Manager Patrick Baker and elected officials. There would be a $51.90 annual fee for weekly yard-waste and pickup of bulky items.

"The general consensus is that you don't like what we're doing now and you'd like to see a change," especially to a yard-waste program that most homeowners don't bother participating in, Long said.

Regardless of whose yard waste is collected, however, the city likely will continue with a grind-and-haul program with contractors rather than try to reopen the yard-waste facility that caught fire in September.

The state has ruled that runoff from such facilities is sewage and would have to go to a treatment.

"Frankly, we're not interested in being the guinea pig for a new level of rules for this sort of facility," said Deputy City Manager Ted Voorhees.

The city began using the contractors, who take ground waste to a licensed landfill elsewhere, after the fire.

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