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Chatham County commissioners make improvements to the Construction & Demolition Recycling Ordinance

Posted Monday, December 5, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - At its regular session on November 21, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners adopted revisions to the county’s Construction and Demolition (C&D) Recycling Ordinance to streamline processes, while still encouraging more recycling and minimizing the amount of C&D debris ending up in landfills.

“It is a goal of the Board of Commissioners to simplify applications and related processes, so our Solid Waste and Recycling staff reviewed the steps involved in administering the ordinance, which was adopted in May 2010. Based on that review, we proposed revisions to eliminate some steps for builders, haulers, and C&D facilities,” said Dan LaMontagne, director of Chatham’s Environmental Quality Department.

The ordinance still applies to any C&D project requiring a building or demolition permit that is 1,000 square feet or greater, located in the unincorporated areas of Chatham County; however, demolition projects due to fire damage, installation of a pre-fabricated structure, and swimming pool installations are now exempt.

“Builders still need to think about and describe how they plan to dispose of debris generated from their C&D projects, and where they will take any mixed debris,” LaMontagne said. “However, their process for doing so is much simpler.”

Building and demolition permit applicants no longer have to fill out a separate C&D recycling document requiring approval by Solid Waste & Recycling. They will now provide this information on their permit application with assistance from the Central Permitting Department.

“Permit holders are ultimately accountable for the final destination of their C&D debris,” LaMontagne said. The revised ordinance requires permit holders to obtain and keep all of their disposal records, receipts, or weight tickets from all the facilities that accepted their debris, for up to one year after project completion. These records may be subject to inspection by the Solid Waste & Recycling Division as a way to enforce the ordinance.

Permit holders need to work with their haulers to properly direct their C&D debris, and obtain all disposal records. Permit holders are free to choose any C&D hauler without restriction, because C&D haulers no longer require a license from the Solid Waste & Recycling Division.

If C&D debris is source-separated into different containers, it must be hauled to any facility that is capable of reusing or recycling it. However, debris that is mixed together into one container must be hauled to a facility that has been licensed by Chatham County to accept mixed debris. Licensed facilities must demonstrate an annual recycling rate of at least 30 percent. The county has identified four facilities in surrounding counties that meet this recycling rate. The list can be found at Chatham County Central Permitting at 80 East Street in Pittsboro and on the county’s website at

“Disposal of source-separated debris can cost considerably less than disposal of mixed debris,” notes Teresa Chapman, Chatham’s waste reduction coordinator. “As an example, it may cost anywhere from $30-$40 per ton to dispose of mixed C&D debris at one of the licensed facilities,” Chapman explained. “However, separating cardboard, clean wood, scrap metal, and shingles into separate containers will usually cost less. In some cases, there is no cost to dispose of it and you may even generate revenue, depending on where you take it.”

The Solid Waste & Recycling office is developing an online database of local recycling options. Builders are also urged to consult, a state-maintained website, to find recycling options.

“The revised ordinance also eases administrative burdens on C&D facilities,” LaMontagne said. “Licensed facilities no longer have to track and report C&D debris coming from these particular projects in Chatham County. They will need to reapply annually to be listed as a licensed C&D facility but the process has been simplified, and there is still no fee to apply.”

Questions about the ordinance can be directed to the Solid Waste and Recycling Division at 919-542-5516.

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Chatham County commissioners make improvements to the Construction & Demolition Recycling Ordinance

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