When is a dump not a dump?

It's a great big hole in the ground that's going to be filled with waste materials. Lee County officials say that's a dump. State officials say it's not.

Lee commissioners’ chairman Charlie Parks says the Duke-Charah plan appears to be a safe use for ash – except for what they call it.

“We think this is a landfill like anything else,” he said. “You can call it what you want, but it’s a hole in the ground and you’re filling it up.”

It seems that most reasonable people would agree that a hole in the ground that is filled with waste material is a dump. So how can it be that this hole in the ground, to be filled with waste material, is not a dump? Well, it's because the state specifically said that this dump is not a dump. Because that's what Duke Energy & Pollution wanted. You see, if they admitted that this dump was a dump, they would have to pay dumping fees.

Lee County argues that the mine project is essentially a landfill. Under state solid waste law, counties award franchises for privately built landfills that typically include host fees of $2 or more per ton of waste.

The two-month-old legislation – which for the first time in North Carolina allows mines to be filled with ash – describes such projects as structural fill, preparing land for future development. The law doesn’t mention host fees.

“The General Assembly basically gave (Duke) a handout,” Lee County manager John Crumpton said. “Really, this is a cost avoidance issue for Duke Energy.”

No, this dump isn't a dump, says Duke Energy & Pollution. It's a "structural fill" site.

Host fees are associated with landfills, and this is a structural fill where the land will be restored for an intended use,” [Duke contractor Charah’s chief operating officer, Scott Sewell] said.

See? Not a dump. Because we said so! Therefore, we don't owe you a dime, Lee County!



Structural fill

Won't that be lovely? This hole in the ground, filled with toxic waste, which is not a dump, will be "restored for an intended use".

Welcome to beautiful Coalash Acres! Very affordable homes, dirt cheap commercial space and a lovely gray park where the kids can play!

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014