Sunday, June 29, 2014


 Residents don’t need more landfill traffic

Tuscaloosa News Editorial 
Published: Saturday, June 28, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.
It’s not surprising that the Tuscaloosa County Commission didn’t immediately make a decision with regard to allowing Eagle Bluff Landfill in Holt to triple the amount of debris that it’s taking in. Competing interests make the decision a very difficult one.

The owners say demand for the landfill’s services jumped dramatically with the April 2011 tornadoes. That’s not surprising given the amount of destruction throughout the city. Once all of that debris is scooped up and loaded into the back of a dump truck, it has to go somewhere. But it is surprising that more than three years after the storms, the demand hasn’t subsided.

All construction creates debris, and there is plenty of construction underway in Tuscaloosa County. Much of it is only tangentially related to the storms now, as most of the clearing and replacement are complete. Construction continues in some of the area where the tornado struck, but it’s also going on elsewhere.

The boom in student housing may have more to do with current demand for landfill space than tornado cleanup. How much longer that boom will continue, we can’t say. But we doubt that landfill space will be the determining factor.

Landfills really don’t belong in the middle of residential neighborhoods. If Holt was within an incorporated municipality, Eagle Bluff probably wouldn’t be there. That’s one of the paradoxes of unincorporated urbanized areas.

However, the landfill is located in a residential area and has been for more than two decades. The people living near it aren’t asking the County Commission to close the landfill, just to maintain the current cap of 1,000 cubic yards a day.

Most of the problems arise more from the traffic to the landfill than from the landfill itself. As the owners point out, this is a construction debris landfill, not one for household garbage. For the most part, it isn’t creating foul odors or attracting vermin.

However, the trucks loaded with debris do create problems with mud and dust. It’s difficult to drive on and off construction sites without getting muddy. That’s just the nature of construction.
And some of what the trucks carry creates dust as well. Trucks tracking mud and dirt onto small, residential streets is bound to create dust problems for residents.

Residents would likely look more favorably on the landfill capacity expansion if the trucks loaded with debris weren’t rumbling down their neighborhood streets. We can’t argue with trucks using Crescent Ridge Road, a major thoroughfare. But the neighborhood streets accessing the landfill aren’t really appropriate for truck traffic.

The owners say there isn’t a way to build alternative access to the landfill. Given that, it would seem unwise to increase the amount of debris the landfill can accept daily and thus, the number of trucks carrying it through residential streets.

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