Apr. 30—Residents in and around Campbell and Commerce, representatives of Texas A&M-Commerce, and Hunt County Judge Bobby Stovall made it clear Thursday night that they do not welcome a proposed solid waste facility along State Hwy. 24 near Commerce.
That position was staked out during a more than two-hour meeting in Greenville hosted by the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
"It really doesn't do any good for our county," said Stovall, one of several people who spoke out during the official comment portion of the meeting.
What happens next is unclear. There are still opportunities for the public to submit opinions on the issue.
Deanna Avalos of the TCEQ, who moderated the meeting, said residents can still formally request a contested hearing, which would be conducted before the agency releases a final decision.
Josh Bray, president of Transfer Waste Solutions LLC of Paris, and Kevin Yard of SCS Engineers fielded questions from the public, attempting to address fears of increased traffic, noise, odor and potential for groundwater pollution from the proposed facility. The site was chosen because it is situated on a major highway and is accessible to cities that may use it, Bray has said.
Bray said he has contracts with several cities, including Quinlan, Royse City and West Tawakoni to accept their solid waste and transfer it to the proposed facility, where it will be compacted and then shipped to Bray's landfill near Blossom in Lamar County.
Bray said he also has an agreement with the City of Greenville to do the same, should the proposed facility be approved.
Yard said Bray has never had a problem with operating his other such facilities and dismissed the danger of contamination.
"The TCEQ would be all over them," Yard said. "He's got an excellent compliance record. It is just good business to protect the environment."
But those attending the meeting remained skeptical and pointed to potential traffic threats as trucks enter and exit the site.
Campbell ISD Supt. Dr. Denise Morgan claimed the district's students would be endangered on their way to campus. Morgan, who is married to and the mother of Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, said, "We have major issues in the area with 18-wheeler wrecks. This is a very dangerous situation."
Morgan also warned of potential odors from having compacted trash so close to the schools.
"Campbell doesn't want it," she said.
Dr. Randy Harp, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas A&M University-Commerce, said the facility would be adjacent to the university's animal science facilities and livestock farm and posed a hazard to cattle, horses and other animals kept there.
"When you have the trash blowing, then those goats and sheep are going to try and eat that," Harp said. Should the waste facility be built, the farm might have to be moved, causing significant harm to the school.
"It would cost the taxpayers $250 million, just to get started," he said.
The TCEQ representatives explained the formal comments submitted Thursday, along with any submitted in written form, would be considered before a decision is reached on the application.
Written comments may be presented anytime before the close of the public comment period to the Office of the Chief Clerk, TCEQ, Mail Code MC-105, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087 or electronically at https://www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/.
Information about the application or the process is available by calling TCEQ Public Education Program, toll free, at 1-800-687-4040.
The permit application is available for viewing at the Commerce Public Library, 1210 Park Street, Commerce and may be viewed online at https://www.scsengineers.com/state/hwy-24-transfer-station/hwy-24-transfer-station-permit-application.