Commissioners to dig deeper for waste ordinance

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, March 30, 2013

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Wise County commissioners tabled trash Tuesday.

The public officials were considering adopting a solid waste facility siting ordinance at their meeting this week, but it was rejected after being dubbed “insufficient” by Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns.

The ordinance, drafted by an engineering company (R.W. Beck), was developed with technical and financial assistance from the North Central Texas Council of Governments in 2009. It designates specific areas within the county where landfills could be placed.

Burns said some of the areas the ordinance designates as suitable locations for a landfill are not suitable.

“It’s not a complete document and does nothing to protect the Trinity Aquifer,” he said. “My concern is that if we approve (the ordinance) there are (unsuitable) areas that companies could come and purchase … and it would be well within our ordinance.

“A lot of those areas … are not viable,” he said. “It was insufficient in 2009, and it certainly is now.”

Burns made the motion to “pursue further study through COG and reject this ordinance proposed by Beck in 2009.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Danny White agreed.

“… adopting an outdated ordinance is not something we want to do,” he said.

A public hearing on the matter was held at the county courthouse Monday morning. Only four people attended, including Bob Patterson, general manager of the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District. He recommended a more defined ordinance.

His biggest concern was groundwater.

“The areas around bodies of water are actually pretty well-protected,” he said. “There are several areas within three or four miles of Decatur where the Trinity Aquifer is so shallow that you can’t farm it. … You have a lot of lateral transfer of water under the ground.”

He said that putting landfills in these areas could contaminate the groundwater.

Citizen Tracy Smith of Greenwood spoke up at the public hearing and said she supported Patterson’s comments.

“We need to start protecting what we do have instead of destroying it,” she said.

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