Residents Raise a Stink Over Proposed Compost Plant - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/6/02

Residents Raise a Stink Over Proposed Compost Plant

New Deal resident James Sikes lives close to the old Lubbock landfill north of town and is not thrilled the city is not shutting it down. "Well, my friends are upset about it. The city did say they were going to shut it down and they're not shutting it down," Sikes said.

The City of Lubbock is planning to haul treated waste material called sludge to the old landfill and turn it into compost and some New Deal residents do not want to live anywhere near it. "Two years ago, they were hauling in wet chicken manure and trying to make compost out of that sawdust. The odor and flies were so horrific we couldn't stand it. And then they wanted to increase the feed lot, kind of compounding the misery, so we've got some history out here," explained Sikes.

Water Utilities Director Terry Ellerbrook admits the chicken manure compost was not the best plan, but promises the sludge compost will not smell bad at all and will be in compliance with state environmental laws. "It's kind of an earthy type smell. It's not a septic smell. I think that's maybe the biggest concern that it's going to smell like the sewer odor most people are accustomed to," Ellerbrook said.

As far as going back on a promise to shut down the old landfill? Landfill Forman, Curtis Bartlett says they cannot technically close down for 30 more years, state environmental laws will not allow it. "We have to watch it for 30 years for errosion, run-off, and exposure of trash," Bartlett said.

Right now, the city is dumping sludge at their new landfill near Abernathy. Ellerbrook says hauling the sludge to the old landfill not only will cut down on travel expense, but selling the compost will just be another way the city can bring in money.

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