County delays action on waste transfer station

Lauderdale County officials won't make a decision on a proposed waste transfer station for several months because they plan to adopt a new waste management plan.

The county board of supervisors has been considering whether to amend a regional Solid Waste Management Plan to allow a waste transfer station to be built in Key Brothers Industrial Park.

The facility, which would serve as a transfer location for both recyclable material and garbage, has drawn opposition from members of the Sweet Gum Bottom Road community, who live nearby and are concerned that it could attract more vultures to their neighborhood.

But the board voted on Monday to table the proposal to build the station and to instead consider it as a part of a new Solid Waste Management Plan.

Since 1993, Lauderdale County and several other counties have used a regional plan called the East Central Mississippi Solid Waste Management Plan, according to board attorney Lee Thaggard.

Lauderdale County now wants to develop its own plan and to stop using the regional plan. The board on May 19 received approval of a grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality that will be used to make a Solid Waste Management Plan specific to Lauderdale County.

Thaggard said some other regions of Mississippi not only have regional solid waste plans; they also have regional solid waste management authorities. However, this type of authority was never created in East Central Mississippi.

Thaggard said that in 2013, the board began efforts to create a Solid Waste Management Plan specific to Lauderdale County because, among other reasons, a regional solid waste management authority had never been created in East Central Mississippi and the county’s solid waste management needs and practices had changed over time.

“The May 2021 grant from the MDEQ will assist the Board in completing and updating the local Plan to address current and future solid waste management needs, goals, and objectives for Lauderdale County,” Thaggard said in an email.

It will take about three months for the new plan to be drafted, Thaggard said. The proposal to build a transfer station in the Key Brothers Industrial Park will be included in this draft.

Once the draft is complete, the board will then set a date for a public hearing about the new Solid Waste Management plan. The board will have 90 days after the hearing to decide whether or not to approve the plan.

The proposed waste transfer station has drawn opposition more than once. JWC Environmental, the waste management company that plans to build the station, originally proposed placing it at G.V. Sonny Montgomery Industrial Park, but Naval Air Station Meridian officials and other community members opposed the location.

A new location was then identified for the station — an area of land south of the Mississippi Highway Patrol office in the Key Brothers Industrial Park. Residents of the nearby Sweet Gum Bottom Road community do not support this new location.

The board has also been considering two other proposals, which will be included in the draft of the new Solid Waste Management Plan.

One of the proposals is that Waste Pro wants to expand a landfill. Another proposal is that JWC Environmental wants to expand its landfill on Willow Lake Road.

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