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Pittsylvania County News

Posted on: December 4, 2020

Pittsylvania County, regulatory agencies hold productive informational session

To address concerns presented about First Piedmont Corporation’s landfill in Ringgold that have been voiced in recent months, Pittsylvania County held a productive information session via Zoom on Thursday. Regulating agencies, landfill engineers, and First Piedmont presented information to area residents about the regulatory environment and the inner workings of the landfill.

"After hearing many concerns presented during October meetings, we wanted to bring the right people and agencies together to provide helpful information to these residents," said Joe Davis, Supervisor for the Dan River District who sponsored the event. "Every government is better when its citizens take the time to know and care what’s going on and engage, so we appreciate Ringgold residents taking the time to voice their concerns and attend this meeting.

In October, several public hearings were held as First Piedmont requested to rezone a small piece of property to bring it up to code and asked for a special use permit to build an office facility on the property. At those meetings, area residents brought forth concerns about odor, environmental quality, and traffic hazards. Since those concerns were not pertinent to zoning, Pittsylvania County leaders decided that hosting this informational session would be the best approach.

Representatives from regulating agencies and landfill engineers shared their expertise to alleviate concerns and educate area residents about the landfill and regulations.  

  • Butch Joyce, a landfill engineer with over four decades of experience in the waste industry, provided a succinct crash course on how a landfill works and a high-level overview of regulations involved.
  • Dr. Buck Cox, an engineer who invented a machine that scrubs foul odors out of the air, explained  the chemistry of how the scrubbing machine works and how it will help reduce odors at First Piedmont.
  • Jay Craddock, the area engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), summarized the regulatory authority that VDOT has and explained how First Piedmont utilizes road sweepers on a regular basis and has always responded quickly to any roadway problems.
  • Briana Bill, Environmental Health Manager for the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), discussed the wide spectrum of roles VDH plays, including investigating complaints about the landfill.
  • From the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), BRRO Land Protection Program Manager  Nikki Herschler Solid & Hazardous Waste Inspector Nicole Tilley explained the regulatory authority that DEQ has over landfills and what the DEQ has found at First Piedmont.
  • Emily Ragsdale, Pittsylvania County Community Development Director, explained the purpose of zoning, what can and can't be regulated through zoning, and how First Piedmont Corporation was grandfathered into the current zoning ordinance in 1991.
  • First Piedmont Corporation Chief Operating Officer Nick Setliff described ways that First Piedmont Corporation is working to communicate more openly with the residents surrounding the landfill, particularly through a Facebook group.

Attendees could submit questions throughout the meeting. Anyone who is interested can watch this recording of the meeting.

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