Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

April 24, 2014

Litter control: Transfer stations needed in Mercer

— — The ongoing efforts to clear a large, illegal trash dump along Spurrier Road near Bluewell is a good start by Mercer County’s new litter control team. However, there is still much work to do in the weeks and months ahead in order to get the county’s unsightly litter problem under control.

Greg Reed, the county’s newly hired litter control officer, correctly notes that Spurrier Road is only one of many illegal dumps sites that can be found throughout Mercer County. He says people have been dumping trash illegally across the county during the winter and spring months, and in many instances the litter is now “very visible” from area roadways.

Unfortunately, littering and illegal dumps have been a significant problem in Mercer County for several years now. And the litter problem has been particularly prevalent in certain communities and parts of the county.

With the new litter control officer on the job, officials will be able to ticket and prosecute those who illegally dump trash across the county. Already, officials are sifting through the trash dump at Spurrier Road and looking for names and addresses. The names of those individuals who are found among the debris will be contacted and ultimately fined if it can be proved in a court of law that they are the individuals responsible for the trash dump.

Also, secret cameras are being installed in other parts of the county where trash dumps are prevalent in hopes of catching litter offenders in the act. This is all a necessary and good first start. But, once again, there is more that the three elected members of the Mercer County Commission can and should be doing.

Many citizens in the county would like to see transfer stations — or essentially large containers for trash disposal — placed in their communities. This would be a tremendous benefit to families living in more remote areas of the county such as Montcalm, Matoaka, Bramwell and Oakvale who don’t live in close proximity to the Mercer County Landfill. Neighboring Tazewell County already provides this service, and it works very well for families living in Virginia-side communities such as Falls Mills and Wardell.

This newspaper has repeatedly advocated for our Mercer County commissioners to give serious consideration to the transfer station concept. However, the commissioners have yet to even have a meaningful discussion or public hearing on this concept. Why?

We expect our commissioners to be pro-active on all fronts, including tourism, economic development and litter control. They should be willing to meet with their Virginia-side neighbors to learn more about this transfer station process and how it works.

The commissioners also must be willing to discuss this idea and even schedule a public hearing — at an hour that would accommodate most citizens, including those who work and are unable to attend the normal morning meetings — to receive proper public input into the transfer station concept.

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