Local News

Residents Raise Stink Over Proposed Landfill

Posted May 15, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— People who live in Holly Springs are looking toward the future and at what will happen if a landfill is built in their neighborhood. Many residents got a chance to say "not in my backyard" today at a public hearing.

Holly Springs had just a few hundred residents back in 1992 when it was chosen for a landfill site. Nearly 5,000 people live there now. One resident says Holly Springs is a sleeping giant, and the giant has awakened.

Holly Springs residents are angry and organized. About 400 people packed a public hearing on the proposed South Wake landfill. Many residents in the standing room only crowd held signs of protest. Some say the location, near an African American neighborhood, amounts to environmental racism.

Other residents are worried about traffic and the smell. A balloon tied to a 260 foot string showed how high the garbage would be piled. The landfill would be located off Highway 55, and take in 1,900 tons of garbage each day.

Citizens Action Committee member Chris Dickson is concerned that the landfill will leak into ground water supplies.

Residents want the project moved to a different site. But county officials say there isn't another viable location. They've already spent 10 million dollars on tests and plans for the Holly Springs site. The current North Wake landfill will be full in 2003, and all of that garbage has to go somewhere.

Carlette Southern-Robert, Director of Wake County Solid Waste, says the North Raleigh landfill is located next to residential areas where property values have not suffered as a result.

A 45-day period for public comment ends on June 1st. The state could issue a construction permit in June. State officials say they need to get moving on the project soon, because it will take several years to finish.