“Trash to Treasure” Plan Gains Ground

Dallas city officials have spent the summer trying to ease complaints about their so-called "Trash to Treasure" plan -- and they appear to be making progress.

The plan, also called "Flow Control," would require that all Dallas garbage be sent to the city's McCommas Bluff Landfill instead of allowing private haulers to take it outside the city.

The city says garbage should not be allowed to get away because it could one day be valuable as fuel for making electricity or as recycling technology improves.

The city would also immediately earn extra money from the landfill fees private haulers would pay.

The plan would also double garbage truck traffic to the landfill near Interstate 20 and Interstate 45, which upset neighbors when the plan was first announced in May.

But some of those neighbors now say there could be a positive side to the plan.

Michael Sorrell, the president of Paul Quinn College, which is located on Simpson Stuart Road on the other side of I-45 from the landfill, strongly opposed the plan at first.

But he now says the college could be a compliment to technology- or energy-related businesses that could spring up around the landfill as resource-recovery operations grow.

"We simply would like the opportunity to prove our value as a partner to the city on this project, by participating in a discipline, analytical and creative approach," Sorrell told the City Council on Wednesday.

Nearby residents have complained for years that communities along Simpson Stuart Road lack amenities such as a grocery store and deserve better city services.

Residents want a portion of money from increased city landfill fees to be dedicated to their area.

"We want the change that will bring jobs and enhance the lives of the citizens of this area," resident Daisy Gafford said. "We ask that you do not put dollars ahead of the welfare of the people."

But several community leaders are still strongly opposed to increased truck traffic at the landfill.

They say the city should plan expanded recycling operations in some other area if the end result is to reduce the waste stream. And some private haulers using landfills outside of Dallas claim their data shows the current arrangement is better for neighbors and taxpayers.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan Sept. 28.

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