Solid Waste Authority Objects to Large Waste Disposal “Cell” for Drill Cuttings at Wetzel County Landfill

by Duane Nichols on March 17, 2015

Four Trucks in Five Minutes

SWA Opposes Disposal “Cell” in Wetzel Landfill

From an Article by Lauren Matthews, Wetzel Chronicle, March 11. 2015

Bill Hughes of Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority appeared before the Wetzel County Commission March 4 to give updates regarding a case before the Public Service Commission.

The case in question is Case Number 13-0832-SWF-CN, named Lackawanna Transport Company, dba Wetzel County Landfill. The case deals with the Wetzel County Landfill’s application for an amendment to their Certificate of Need. The fulfillment of this application would enable the landfill to build a special cell where drilling companies could dispose of drilling waste.

Hughes noted that the case started in June 2013. He added that 96 letters have since been sent into the PSC regarding the case, all but one objecting to the landfill’s application. A decision is expected within the next several months, with final briefs being filed in mid-March.

Hughes expressed criticism of the legislature in that “there’s a lot of loose ends that the legislature did not account for,” when passing bills regarding disposal of drilling waste. “The PSC doesn’t know what to do with this case,” Hughes noted.

“The legislature says to take the drill waste to landfills,” Hughes noted, but added that “we don’t have proper waste characterization,” expressing concern about possible hazardous materials in the waste. Hughes noted that in the past two years the Wetzel County Landfill has taken “half a million tons” of drilling waste, that is only “partially characterized.”

Hughes noted that Cider Run Road, which leads to the landfill, is “trashed.” “The roads are torn up. All the trucks are now going to a well pad. There is a well pad above the landfill . . . all that traffic – the municipal solid waste traffic, drill cuttings traffic, a holding pond up there . . . all that uses one road. It has caused a lot of congestion, and it’s in deplorable condition.”

Hughes noted that with all the drill waste the landfill has taken in, and consequent revenue, “you’d think they could fix the roads.”

“There’s a lot of residential traffic on those roads,” Hughes notes, adding that a local resident testified before the PSC as to all of the trucks damaging the roads.”

Hughes stated that the State is not quite willing to help. “As you guys know, Charleston folks tend to live in Charleston. I have not been able to convey to them that this is an inconvenience for the neighbors.”

“This landfill now has a 40-year lifespan based on current consumption,” Hughes stated, noting that the landfill previously had a 120 year lifespan.

“Drilling has slowed down, but it’s a temporary lull,” Hughes added. “We have many unresolved issues, some environmental, some traffic, and everything in between. We have yet to have a clue as to what’s going in the ground.”

Hughes referenced House Bill 107, which imposes a dollar per ton fee put on drilling waste, “that goes to the state to help repair the roads.” “Nothing has happened,” he added, noting that the fee is not dedicated just to the landfill operation. “It’s any road affected by drilling operations.”

“I have thousands of photographs,” Hughes stated. “You have 200 trucks going through there per day. I sat there myself for two hours, and saw 20 trucks going one way and then the other road. It’s absurd to allow that road, which is a residential traffic road, to get in that condition. I was down there yesterday, and it’s getting worse with the freezing and thawing. There are fractured pieces of roads; it’s all busted up. They need to have it widened, with a ditch and drainage.”

“The money is there, but there is no political will to let it happen.”

The current case involving the WCSWA and the Wetzel County Landfill (owned and operated by Lackawanna Transport Company) can be found on the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s site, accessed at

After accessing the website, choose “Case Information” from the menu on the right hand side of the page. Then choose “Case” under the Search heading on the right hand side of the next page. Several options are available. Choose to search by Case Number, and in the drop-down menu choose “Is.” 13-0832-SWF-CN

Cider Run Road 1-19-2015

Click the case number link, and then choose “Count total letter . . . ” Choose the case number link again, and this will lead you to all activity records involved in the case. Visible under Case 13-0832-SWF-CN’s files on the website are opening statements from counsel for both the WCSWA and Wetzel County Landfill (Lackawanna Transport Company – LTC)

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