Pascagoula Leaders Searching For Garbage Solution

If you live in Jackson County, chances are you're about to see an increase in your garbage bill. But the big questions that can't be answered are how much will the increase be and when will it go into effect.

Currently, all trash east of Hwy. 57 is picked up and taken to a large incinerator near the Escatawpa river. Right before the Rohm and Haas chemical plant closes next month, the incinerator will shut down. Without the incinerator, the garbage must be taken to a nearby landfill.

Pascagoula Mayor Joe Cole said on Wednesday that hauling trash to the landfill will cost you more money.

"I think it's inevitable that we will have to raise the cost to our users for picking up the garbage at the curb and hauling it off. It's unfortunate. We have got many years since we have wanted to do that, Mayor Cole said.

Everyday, more than 25 truck loads of household trash is brought to the incinerator in Pascagoula and burned into ash. But with the incinerator closing, that trash has to go somewhere else.

"What we would like to do is enter into a contract where someone picks it up, it disappears, and the city has no responsibility for it from that point forward," Mayor Cole said.

Since the city own and operates the incinerator, it has contacts for trash removal with the county and two other cities and is responsible for finding a solution. Right now, the city is trying to bring the trash to Macland landfill on Hwy. 63 in Escatawpa. The landfill doesn't currently take household garbage, but its original permit with the county does allow the site to expand.

"We would have all of our garbage hauled to the facility picked up and taken to landfill from that spot. That's the option we are trying to posture ourselves to put into place at this time."

We talked to four different residents on Fieldworth Road in Escatawpa, and none of them knew about the change that could take place just one mile up the road from them. They all say they want more information.

Before the landfill can start collecting garbage, several new permits must be cleared through the state and a public hearing must be held.

We talked with the owner of McLand Landfill, and he says residents won't be able to tell a difference because he plans to completely cover the trash so that it doesn't attract animals or give off an odor.

By Ken Flanagan

Online Producer Glenn Cummins