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'Controversial' landfill opens in Holly Springs

The South Wake Landfill in Holly Springs opened Thursday, and some residents said they worry it will trash their town.

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HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — The South Wake Landfill in Holly Springs opened Thursday, and some residents said they worry it will trash their town.

The new facility, which could get as many as 2,000 tons of trash a day, is on 471 acres at Main Street and N.C. Highway 55. A wooded area surrounds the dumping ground, and landfill officials said residents won’t even know it’s there.

One of the project’s most vocal opponents was Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears. He was out of town on business Thursday, but said he’s optimistic the landfill won’t affect development in the town.

One developer has already expressed interest in building a shopping center nearby, Sears said.

With the North Wake Landfill expected to close in April, Wake County needed another place to unload the garbage.

“The facility will provide the least cost option for the community for decades to come,” said Jim Reynolds, Wake County Solid Waste Management director. “It’s a 180-acre footprint on 471 acres, so there’s a lot of buffer around it.”

Residents said they don't want to see their town become a dumping ground.

“We’ve known for a long time. We resisted, so we’re dealing with it. We think of it as a lost opportunity," said Mark Andrews, Holly Springs public information officer.

Holly Springs leaders envisioned a commercial development on the property. Now, it has commercial waste haulers using it from across southern Wake County and Raleigh. They'll drop off about 2,000 tons of waste a day.

“We realize it is still a controversial facility,” Reynolds said. “This is part of the infrastructure of any community.”

The county has formed a South Landfill Citizens Committee to get residents' input about the landfill. They hope to start giving the public tours of the landfill soon, Reynolds said.

Andrews said he and others will be observing how the process goes.

“We expect and hope they’ll be good neighbors,” he said.

The first phase of the landfill opened Thursday and is expected to fill up in about three to four years. Then, another section will be built. Overall, the landfill should last Wake County 25 years.

No tax dollars went into the project. Users of the landfill pay a fee that covers operational expenses. Licensed haulers will pay $30 per ton of garbage to dump at the new landfill. The city of Raleigh gets a $3 dollar discount per ton because of the large volume of trash it has to haul.

Wake County generates 440,000 tons of trash a year.


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