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Lexington city officials weighing new options for waste disposal

Stu Johnson

Lexington city officials are exploring ways to reduce garbage going to the landfill and increase free compost for residents. Several Council members toured a waste digester operation in Sevierville Tennessee. That outfit uses large tubes to turn and heat all kinds of waste to break it down over a few days.

Council Member Richard Moloney has been pitching the idea for the last few years. Council Member Whitney Baxter admits she wasn’t sure at first.

“I kind of teased Councilman Moloney at the beginning when we were talking about this, thinking it was just some far-fetched idea, but really, it’s just amazing. I think hiring the consultant would be a good step forward,” said Baxter.

Council Member Fred Brown said one digester is estimated to cost about $5 million. Council Member Josh McCurn noted the upfront cost to establish a waste digester operation could be offset through annual savings in money spent now to deal with garbage.

City Environmental Quality and Public Works Commissioner Nancy Albright was asked what’s the next step.

“Well, that’s the part where we’ve all got ideas and we’re all kind of impressed by what we saw, but exactly how would that model translate to Lexington is very cloudy still,” said Albright.

Members of the Environmental Quality and Public Works Committee approved a motion to hire a consultant to help evaluate the feasibility of establishing such an operation in Fayette County. If approved by the full Council, that study is expected to take about a year.

Lexington Environmental Quality and Public Works is a financial supporter of WEKU.

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