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Reassessment Tops Agenda

Halifax County Assessor Harold Throckmorton is expected to update county supervisors and South Boston and Halifax Town Council members on the 2010 tax reassessment when the three boards meet tonight at 6 p.m. in the Mary Bethune Office Complex second floor conference room.

During the joint meeting, Throckmorton is slated to explain how real estate values in Halifax County have risen on average by four percent since the last tax reassessment in 2007.

Property owners began receiving their new tax assessment notices in the mail earlier this month.

Also tonight, the three governing bodies will hear from U. S. Census Bureau representative Susan K. Wood concerning the joint 2010 Census Partner Proclamation.

The proclamation explains that an accurate count is vital to the community and residents’ well-being and states the board of supervisors and Halifax and South Boston Town Councils are committed to partnering with the U. S. Census Bureau to help ensure a full and accurate count in 2010.

David Kenealy of the Wood Design and Technology Center located at the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center also is scheduled to address supervisors and council members tonight.

Under unfinished business, supervisors and council members are expected to continue their discussions on green waste composting options.

According to Halifax County Service Authority (HCSA) Executive Director Willie Jones, the green waste composting workgroup met last month and reviewed a summary of disposal options for biosolids and is expected to recommend to the two towns and county representatives that further evaluation of disposal options be tabled.

Each option studied was designed to take the raw materials and prepare them for use as a soil amendment, Jones explained.

The composting options would take care of both green waste and biosolids, while the hybrid poplar option and the bioset process were designed to process the biosolids exclusively.

Jones offered a brief description of the different processes:
• Composting: In this process the digested biosolids are mixed in predetermined portions and placed either in an open aerated pile or in a closed container. In either case the materials are further broken down by aerobic bacterial action, and pathogen reduction is accomplished by maintaining the temperature of the pile at 50 degrees Celsius for several days. While the static pile method has the lowest operating cost per ton, it is more prone to odor generation than the closed vessel system, otherwise the processes are the same. The material produced is a proven soil amendment that has resale value.

• Hybrid Poplar: The hybrid poplar process takes the digested biosolids, adds quicklime to them, and then the mixture is transported to an approved site where the mixture is buried in a trench approximately two feet wide by four feet deep. It is covered immediately. A few months later hybrid poplars are planted in the trenches and reach a marketable size in 10 to 14 years. This method requires approximately 200 acres to be economically feasible, and there are very precise soil requirements for the trench construction, he explained.

“It is new and not fully approved by the DEQ,” Jones said. “It is innovative in that the poplars are being explored as a renewable source of fuel.

According to the HCSA director, this option is more costly due to the number of different kinds of expenditures that must be made for chemicals, transportation, permit fees, etc.

“There is no marketable product generated for immediate resale,” he pointed out.

• Bioset: Bioset process takes the digested biosolids adds quicklime, and then the mixture is pushed into a reactor vessel where the reaction of the quicklime with the water in the biosolids raises the material temperature to over 70 degrees Celsius for an hour, completely destroying any pathogens present. After the material has had time to stabilize for approximately 30 days, it is available to be sold as a soil amendment. The material is classified as class A Biosolids with no restrictions on its use.

Jones explained when the committee started working, it faced two pressing issues: disposal of the biosolids generated from the wastewater plants and disposal of the green waste generated in the Town of South Boston and Halifax County.

Both the town and the county have developed cost effective methods for the disposal of their respective green waste streams, he added.

The HCSA still has a disposal issue with its biosolids, according to Jones. However since March the HCSA has been aggressively pursuing funding for several major projects that will affect the operation of its wastewater plants.

Of unknown impact is the addition of the backwash water solids from the Leigh Steret water treatment plant, he added.

Because of DEQ permit requirements, the HCSA will no longer discharge these solids directly into a small stream. Instead it will send these solids to the Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. At this point it is unknown if the alum which is used in the treatment process and present in the solids will adversely affect the quality of the digested biosolids and make them unsuitable for sale as a soil amendment, Jones said.

“Given that there are cost effective options now available to the town and county for the disposal of green waste, and given the uncertainty about the quality of the digested biosolids after the major construction projects are complete, those present at the committee meeting agreed that it was best for the time being to table further evaluation of disposal options,” Jones said.

Following the joint meeting, county supervisors are expected to reconvene their meeting to discuss the following agenda items:

• 100th Annual Halifax County Fair and how other localities operate their respective fairs;

• Consider adopting a resolution authorizing the submission of a tobacco commission grant entitled “Study for Mobile Slaughter/Meat-Processing Facilities; and

• Consider adopting a declaration for a local emergency flood event – Nov. 12-14.