Rockingham County, NC -- The debate over a proposed landfill in near Eden heated up Tuesday night.
People expressed their concerns about the proposal at the first of two workshops set up by developer PBK Holdings of Oak Ridge.
The landfill and recycling center is proposed for a piece of land situated between Riverside Circle and Harrington Highway, which is between Wentworth and Eden. The land is currently owned by Whitt Family Farms, LLC.
PBK submitted an application in May to use a maximum of 350 of 400 acres for a materials recycling facility and solid waste disposal. The remaining land on the 1,750-acre property would be used to support "construction activities and landfill operations."
Kevan Combs with PBK said the group's main focus is the recycling. He said, "We feel like what we're doing is very eco-friendly with the most updated technology."
People expressed concern about the effect on the Dan River, which is close to the proposed site at Tuesday's meeting.
"I've been living here 67 years and had the good water to drink and now we're going to have to worry about what we're going to get in our drinking water," said Monk Barton, who started a petition against the proposal. He had almost 700 signatures.
"Eden is know as the city of three rivers, we don't want it to be named three rivers and one dump," he said.
Glenda Moore, who lives near the site, said, "We have well water and I wouldn't want anything to get in our well water. We have good water right now."
She added, "I think it's going to devalue our property. Everybody's property is going to go down."
A group opposing the landfill has created a Facebook page that had 455 members as of Tuesday afternoon. On that page, the group states "We do not favor this development as it could be detrimental to water quality and the quality of life in Eden and the surrounding community."
Combs said, "If we felt that we were going to contaminate the ground water or the Dan River, we wouldn't be standing here tonight trying to show people how safe this can be and the new technology that's available to us in building this."
"The technology and the regulations that surround us, we're bound by very high standards and it's monitored very heavily," he said.
Combs said the facility would bring in more than $2 million to Rockingham County each year and would eventually create 50 jobs.
Frankie Legaux, assistant planning director for Rockingham County, said currently the county has a landfill on Highway 704 near Madison. She said she isn't aware of a concern at this time for that landfill reaching its maximum capacity.
Legaux said the planning board will look at the proposal like they would any other and compare it to the county land use plan. The board will take up the proposal on July 18.
If it passes, the proposal will go before the Board of Commissioners in August.
A second workshop for residents has been set up by the developer for June 28 at 5:30 p.m. at Eden City Hall.