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Solid Waste Authority in the market for new director

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County solid waste officials have had several people interested in replacing Solid Waste Director Norm Steenstra.

Steenstra, director of the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority for the past five years, announced his resignation earlier this week at a meeting of the solid waste board.

Kay Summers, chairwoman of the board, said Steenstra cited health reasons in his decision to leave the job. Steenstra's resignation becomes effective Sept. 26.

"He has three weeks of vacation that he's going to take during that time," Summers said.

Operations at the solid waste authority's Slack Street recycling center have been seriously curtailed since solid waste officials shut down the 100-year-old sorting facility in March because of safety concerns.

Solid waste officials have since reopened Slack Street as a drop-off center for the public, but cities that previously brought materials to the center are now going to Beckley or Nitro. The recycling center has been losing tens of thousands of dollars per month since scaling back the recycling program.

Summers said Steenstra has offered to resign before. "He has said that a couple of times, even before we were in financial hard times," she said.

Steenstra was out of the office Friday and could not be reached for comment.

In addition to Steenstra's resignation, the solid waste board also voted this week to lay off six employees at Slack Street to save money. Summers said the layoffs leave the facility with six workers.

The solid waste board had been talking about leasing a warehouse near Sissonville to serve as a new sorting facility, but voted against signing the lease this week. "After talking to our accountant, we just felt we could not afford to take that risk right now," Summers said.

Solid waste officials still have to decide what to do about replacing Steenstra, what to do to try to save the county's recycling program, and what to do about the old building at Slack Street. The building, the site of a former power plant, is contaminated with hazardous materials.

Summers said the solid waste board would meet again Aug. 21.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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