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Costs continue to add up at Cash Hollow center

Construction and demolition waste being brought to the convenience centers is a growing problem and expense for Washington County.
Members of the Solid Waste Committee discussed the large amount of unacceptable materials coming to the Cash Hollow Convenience Center during their June 2 meeting.
“It’s really gotten out of hand, especially at Cash Hollow,” Solid Waste Director Charles Baines told commissioners. “We had a huge amount of lumber being brought in by pickup trucks that were filling up the containers.”
Construction and demolition waste is generated from the construction, renovation, repair and demolition of structures such as residential and commercial buildings, roads and bridges.
Examples of C&D waste are wood products, asphalt, drywall, masonry, metals, plastics, shingles, insulations, chain-link fencing and concrete posts. Rather than the county’s convenience centers, these items should be taken directly to one of the four Class IV landfills located in surrounding counties.
The five Washington County Convenience Centers are equipped to handle disposal of residential waste from Washington County residents only at no charge. No business or commercial waste can be accepted at the convenience centers.
Baines said 80 percent of the construction and demolition waste is coming from non-licensed project contractors in the City of Johnson City.
“A lot of apartment complexes have people who work for them and do renovations,” Baines said. “Anything from there is considered commercial waste because they’re rental properties.”
Iris Glen Environmental Center in Johnson City is the only landfill in Washington County, according to Baines, and higher fees are charged because it is a Class I landfill.
Rather than pay the $44 minimum tipping fee at Iris Glen or driving to another county, Baines said contractors bring it to Cash Hollow.
“We had a 1-ton truck full of lumber brought in one day,” he said.
Washington County then becomes the entity responsible for hauling the waste to Iris Glen. While a contract negotiated last year provides a $26 disposal fee for the county, the cost of extra trips and manpower to transport items that shouldn’t be coming to the convenience center in the first place is adding up.
A total of 35 open-top loads from Cash Hollow was taken to Iris Glen during May, compared to only seven loads from the Lamar Convenience Center, 10 loads from Locust Mount, 11 loads from Washington College and 20 loads from Gray.
“The worst are these fly-by-night contractors who charge people to haul off the waste,” Baines said. “Then they bring it out to Cash Hollow and put the money in their pocket.”
With no end in sight and the problem only getting worse, Baines told his employees to stop accepting the loads. “In the past two to three weeks, I’ve had 50 calls from people complaining,” he told commissioners.
Adding to the problem are the big box truck loads of furniture being brought in from Good Samaritan and the Salvation Army. “People are filling up their parking lots with old furniture they can’t use, and then they’re bringing it to Cash Hollow,” Baines said.
Despite being nonprofit organizations, Baines said the waste is still considered commercial and should be taken directly to the landfill.
Commissioners will discuss the issue again at next month’s meeting.