LETTER- Moore's Creek closing a loss

I cannot understand why your magazine keeps celebrating the decision to stop composting at the Moore's Creek Wastewater Facility [Year in Review, December 21, "Freshest air forecast"]. This was a huge step backward for the environment.

Charlottesville and Albemarle County went from recycling their waste to sending it to a landfill. The solids from the facility, once composted at a temperature sufficient to kill off illness-causing organisms, were then sold. For decades, residents lined up to purchase this effective fertilizer. What was once unwanted waste was transformed into a sought-after commodity. 

Now, Rivanna no longer has this source of income; rather, they pay to have it transported and pay again to have it accepted into a landfill. Instead of providing nutrients for lawns, nurseries, and farms, these solids are now going to fill up landfill space. Not only is this a loss to the environment, it is an economic loss as well.

This is a win only for the people who recently moved into the Woolen Mills neighborhood. Now they no longer will be subjected to the composting smell, an odor I never found offensive, especially after I learned that it was the smell of sustaining our environment.

This is an example of Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) at its worst. Charlottesville and Albemarle County no longer take care of their own waste within their boundaries. Solids from sewage waste are no longer recycled: they are sent to poorer counties in our state.

Usually the writers at the Hook are right on with their social conscience. On this one, I think the Hook lost its moral compass.

Mark D. Martin
Stanardsville

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority contends that their shipping the material to Richmond will not result in landfill fodder but in compost for Richmonders. –editor.

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2 comments

Financially:
This new revenue loss in addition to losing revenue from the closure of Ivy Landfill. As this issue of The Hook points out, glass recycling revenues have dried up. There is no landfill in Albemarle, all trash is trucked away.
LOOK FOR WATER/TRASH RATES TO STEADILY INCREASE IN YEARS TO COME.

Environmentally: Obvious. Fuel is burned to truck, and traffic is created. Truck fuel,tires, brakes, oil. Impact on roads. Landfills are being filled with recyclable product.

Basically, Charlottesville is spending a lot of money and resources to make our problems someone else's problem.

"Not here. Somewhere Else." Charlottesville motto.

Imagine that I wanted to go into the business of composting vegetative matter, leaves from yards and table scraps. The Virginia State Code mandates that my compost pile must be at least 1,000 feet from the nearest house.

In the 1980's the local water and sewer authority (RWSA) began open air composting sewage sludge at the north-eastern corner of their facility.
After February 1st of this year the RWSA will truck sewage sludge to an alternate location for composting. This decision was made following years of dialog with nearby residents.

I say nearby. The nearest house is approximately 725 feet from the RWSA compost pile.

Mark Martin of Stanardsville, Virginia (101,688 feet from the compost pile) makes the following points and then some:

1) the recent steps by the RWSA board regarding sludge constitute "a huge step backward" for the environment.
2) the solids will fill up landfills
3) It'll be expensive and is only "a win" for the people who have "recently moved" to the Woolen Mills neighborhood.
4) The smell of the compost operation was one he never found offensive.
5) This is an example of NIMBY-ism at its worst.
6) The Hook has lost its moral compass.

Dear Mark,
Regarding points #1 & 2, the solids will continue to be composted. Regarding #3. It is a win for all the people of eastern Charlottesville, from east Belmont-Carlton to the Downtown Mall. Regarding the Woolen Mills neighborhood, the old residents have noses too, not just the people who have "recently moved" here.
Regarding #4, if your yard is large enough for open field application, please notify the RWSA administration.
Regarding NIMBY. If we don't look out for our own backyards, who will?
Regarding #6, The Hook is a newspaper. Their compass is a news compass. They cover issues that effect the residents of central Virginia.
Bill