Neighbors don't want Palm Beach yard waste contract renewed

Neighbors want Palm Beach yard waste dump removed

PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Town of Palm Beach is the county's only municipality that doesn't dump its yard waste at the Solid Waste Authority.

Instead, it uses two sites off Okeechobee Boulevard, but now that its permit is up, neighbors want the dump out.

Palm Beach island is about eight miles away from the dump site off Okeechobee Boulevard. 

Since the 1940's though, town manager Peter Elwell said the town has dumped their yard waste at one site off of Okeechobee Boulevard and another site off of Skees Road.

Problem now is the people who live on the other side of the dump don't want it in their backyard any longer.

Penny Crane has black debris on her patio furniture, as well as her air conditioner filters, and she said it's coming from the neighboring dump owned by the Town of Palm Beach.

"I was angry because my father lives here. Does he really need to have this in his lungs," Crane said. "Do I need to? We all deserve to have clean air."

You wouldn't be able to tell there is a dump behind her house now because it just looks like overgrown trees behind her house.

She has pictures though, from the same spot a little while back,  that show what it's like when the yard waste piles up.

"The stench is horrible. I feel like I'm sitting in a septic tank," she said. "You pray that the wind is blowing towards the east and not from the east because you're going to get it."

Her neighbor, Larry Diegert,  feels the same way. 

"(The mound) has gone from being big and fluffy where the raccoons could live in there like condos to where now (the Town of Palm Beach) has squished it down," Diegert said.

But the Town of Palm Beach has been dumping all its yard waste in the landfills since the 1940's. Before the homes were there, and when they were built.

"There's more trash now and there's more moving of everything," Crane said.

Now that their permit is up, neighbors want them to start taking their yard waste to the Solid Waste Authority, like everyone else.

Elwell says doing that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the $1.6 million they currently play.

"If we had to take it up to the solid waste authority facilities we'd have more trucks more people more miles traveled," Elwell said.

Neighbors say that's better than them dealing with it.

"I'm the one that's being brow beaten and having to deal with the consequences of their actions," Crane said.

The Palm Beach County Health Department says it doesn't pose any health risks to those who live nearby.

There will be a meeting Wednesday about the issue at the Solid Waste Authority. 

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