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Kanawha recycling center move still stalled

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Members of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority still have not decided whether to move the Slack Street recycling center to a facility in Sissonville.

The authority's board of directors hoped to make a decision about the move at a special meeting Tuesday, but said they didn't yet have enough information to tell if the move is a good idea.

In May, board members voted to sign a letter of intent to lease a warehouse in Sissonville as a new home for the county's recycling center, but board members were worried about the terms of the lease. A lawyer was supposed to help come up with a counter-proposal, but the information wasn't ready in time for Tuesday's meeting.

Board President Kay Summers said her colleagues will have to wait until they have the information before making a final decision about the move.

The Solid Waste Authority decided in March to temporarily shut down the Slack Street center because of safety concerns with the 100-year-old building where they were sorting recyclables. The center was moved out of the building and reopened on a limited basis, but is operating on a makeshift basis until a more permanent home can be found.

The Solid Waste board did vote Tuesday to put together a set of bid specifications for tearing the old building down. The board isn't necessarily ready to demolish the structure, but wants a better cost estimate for when the time comes.

The bid would include a requirement to grind up the debris from the demolition and use it to fill in the hole where the building would have been located, with a possibility of building a new structure on the site in the future. Additionally, Solid Waste Authority Director Norm Steenstra will have to find out what utility lines might be under the cavernous building, and also contact the Department of Environmental Protection to find out if the site is contaminated.

The building was a former power plant, and likely is contaminated with asbestos, PCBs and other chemicals.

The Solid Waste board also told Steenstra to contact all the businesses that bring paper to the recycling center and ask them to pre-sort their products. Workers now spend hours sorting paper on the ground in front of the building, which exposes them to extreme temperatures and other weather conditions. Steenstra said the Solid Waste Authority could save about $8,000 a month if workers don't have to spend so much time sorting paper by hand.

The board will meet again July 17.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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