A $ 100,000 “waste stream” study? Warren Wilson’s pool still MIA?

Today’s bundle of burning questions, my smart answers, and the real deal:

Question: Buncombe County has requested $ 100,000 in capital funding for an assessment of the waste stream filling the landfill, and I understand the city is requesting similar funds to do a composting feasibility study. Wow. Don’t we have staff who can do this as part of their job? Or is it just another monumental government waste?

My answer: Well, as the saying goes, “Sometimes you have to waste money to make money.” Wait, that’s not true. “Sometimes you have to make money to be able to waste it.” Whore. Maybe it is, “Sometimes you have to spend the money to drink good craft beer.” Yes, I think that’s it …

real answer: First of all, the city says it doesn’t have such a program.

“The City of Asheville is not currently conducting a feasibility study on composting and has not retained the services of a consultant for this purpose,” city spokeswoman Polly McDaniel said.

Buncombe County operates a major landfill and keeping space available is essential, so a study makes sense.

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“Buncombe County Landfill opened in 1997 with a life expectancy of 30 years, which means that by 2021 we should only have six years of life left,” the county spokesperson said. , Kassi Day. “Buncombe County has experienced rapid population growth in recent years; however, our solid waste staff continue to focus their efforts on extending the life of the landfill with numerous recycling and waste diversion programs and operational excellence, and we currently estimate the landfill is still 18-24 years old. years older. “

Day said that the county’s 2025 strategic plan sets goals for the county and the community, and that one of the solid waste department’s goals is to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions with an initiative to explore feasible rerouting programs “.

On the cost side, Day said the $ 100,000 figure was correct. But she also noted that the solid waste department “operates like a corporate fund, which means that all operational and investment projects are self-funded by the department.” A full waste audit is planned for fall 2021.

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“This comprehensive study is a major undertaking that will take several weeks and will include a waste audit on representative waste streams in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors across the county,” Day said.

Other key elements of the study include stakeholder meetings with county staff to reduce costs. The county will use the study’s findings as “a compass to develop more targeted and effective diversion programs to reduce both costs and environmental impact.”

Buncombe County Landfill opened in 1997 with a life expectancy of 30 years.  But thanks to efforts to extend its life through recycling and waste diversion programs, as well as operational efficiency, the county estimates it has an additional 18 to 24 years of operation.

“While this is a significant upfront cost, the county is confident that informed decision making resulting from the study will save money and serve the community better in the long run,” Day said.

Question: In 2017, Buncombe County Commissioners approved $ 300,000 as part of a proposed plan with Warren Wilson College for the repair and opening of the college pool for joint use by the college and the public. As far as I know the pool has never opened to the public. Is the plan still on the table? Also, if I understood correctly, Warren Wilson was doing the work himself, with the roof falling on the building. Is it correct? If WWC is responsible for the incident, will they refund the money to the county?

My answer: As a swimmer myself, I will be speaking strongly in favor of roofs that do not collapse over swimming pools. Look, it’s hard enough when the sailors try to harpoon me.

real answer: I went back to Kassi Day with Buncombe County for that part of the question.

“At this time, the county has not contributed funds, as the commitment was dependent on the completion of the project, however, funding from Buncombe County is still available for this project,” Day said.

Mary Bates, associate director of public relations at Warren Wilson, addressed the college’s role in this regard, first providing some context and noting that the pool was originally closed for renovations to the outdoor structure surrounding the pool. .

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“The project was delayed due to a variety of unforeseen issues with the exterior structure, as well as some issues we encountered with the pool itself,” Bates said. “As a result, the project expanded to both a new outdoor structure and a new swimming pool, and the total costs exceeded our initial budget.”

Regarding the work, Bates said, “Warren Wilson’s staff have not done the construction, the roof has not collapsed and the county has not contributed any funding for the project to date. because their pledge of $ 300,000 was contingent on the completion of the entire project. “

Work was halted during the pandemic.

“The locker room renovations and other fundamental projects, like an accessible entrance, were completed with donor money, but from March 2020 our focus shifted to the safety of our university community during the pandemic. COVID-19, ”Bates said. “We continue to seek viable solutions and partnerships to bring this project to fruition.”

This is the opinion of John Boyle. To submit a question, contact him at 232-5847 or [email protected]

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