June 12 – Letter to the Editor: Danville Register and Bee

Originally Published June 12, 2018 on GoDanRiver.com

Let’s talk trash. Specifically, let’s talk about solid waste. The average Pittsylvania County resident generated 4.4 pounds of trash every day in 2017, bringing in about 40,000 tons of household waste throughout the year.

Where does it go once you throw it in the dumpster, or have it picked up at the curb?

For most residents, it goes to the Pittsylvania County Landfill in Dry Fork, which county staff has been working to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. Especially now that the operation will have the funding it needs to prepare for the future from the solid waste fee.

A study of the 450-acre property found that the cost of operation is as low as it can get for the amount of trash it brings in. If that amount were to double, the landfill could bring in a net profit of nearly $500,000, including the costs that filling the current cell of the landfill faster would bring. That is a possibility in 2021 and 2022, if we are able to secure additional solid waste streams, such as from Danville, Martinsville and Henry County — all localities that currently send its trash to other communities.

We’re also saving the citizens money by contracting our green box site collections out to a private service provider — it means less work for our drivers, that we aren’t doing our own mechanical work, and we’re supporting local businesses — plus we’re bringing about $150,000 worth of new revenue to our landfill that was previously going elsewhere. We’re saving money and making money through these changes

Other things that county staff is working to do include overhauling the solid waste convenience centers throughout the county through beautification and re-design. We want these sites to be more user-friendly and reflect the pride we all have in Pittsylvania County.

We are also ironing out new enforcement efforts to keep non-county citizens from dumping their trash in our centers and to keep contractors from dumping construction waste for free when they should be paying us for it. This is a huge problem in the county, and we will be doing everything in our power to fix it.

The Pittsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, the county’s IT department and commonwealth’s attorney are working together to determine the best plan of action for enforcement, and will work to implement it in the coming months.

County staff is also working to find more information about bringing recycling to Pittsylvania County, and to update the programs that we already have in Pittsylvania County so that our citizens will have the best service we can give you.

All of the information that we have, and updates on our progress as we work through the nuts and bolts of the process will be posted on PittsylvaniaLandfill.com and on the Pittsylvania County Facebook Page.

I’d like to end this letter by posing a question for your readers: What questions do you have about how the landfill operates? Is there something you’d like to see us change? Do you have suggestions for what we should add to our convenience centers to make your experience better? We want to know!

Send us an email at publicrelations@pittgov.org, and we will take your thoughts into consideration as we work through these improvements.

David Smitherman

Pittsylvania County Administrator