WHEELING - Ohio County voters on Tuesday agreed to allow the Short Creek Landfill to accept up to 50,000 tons per month of garbage, up from the current limit of 30,000 tons.
The matter passed with the support of more than 77 percent of those voting, 4,767 votes for to 1,690 against.
Demand on the landfill has increased of late, said Keith Koebley, general manager of Republic Services, the private company that operates the facility. Although he doesn't expect the facility will hit 50,000 tons every month, he said there were three or four months last year in which the landfill reached its monthly cap and had to divert waste to another facility it owns in Imperial, Pa.
According to information from the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board, the landfill accepted an average of 29,125 tons per month in 2011. About 20 percent of that came from out of state, but Koebley said the recent increase in demand is coming primarily from the Northern Panhandle.
Republic Services projects raising the cap would reduce the lifespan of the landfill's 115 currently permitted acres from 31 years to 27, according to Koebley. He said the facility owns another 288 acres that it could ask the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection for permission to use in the future to expand.
In addition to Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and Marshall counties, the landfill accepts trash from the Morgantown area; Allegheny, Greene and Washington counties in Pennsylvania; and Jefferson and Carroll counties in Ohio.