Letcher Co. looking to "cook" trash

By Katie Roach | 

It's a problem everyone has to deal with, taking out the trash.

One Eastern Kentucky county is sparking controversy by looking into an innovative way of disposing of trash that could save the county money.

It doesn't smell good, and can pile up quickly. But, Letcher County believes "cooking" their trash could be a more economical and environmentally friendly way to take care of their trash.

"If you can imagine being able to take 90% of the solid waste from a land fill it could be very remarkable," said Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward.

"Cooking" trash is an innovative technology that is only in the first stages of use in the US. It starts by placing all the trash in a big vault.

"The heat the water up and steam it and it comes out as a mulch or a pulp," said Ward.

The cooker would be located in Letcher County, so there would be no contractor fees to take the trash away which could save the county money. Plus, no county jobs would be lost, and trash pick-up rates would probably stay the same or decrease.

While Letcher County officials say cooking trash could be a more economical way to dispose of it some residents say it could be dangerous.

"The smell and the runoff from the water is going to contaminate the Kentucky river worse than it already is," said resident Douglas Napier.

Napier says no one has proven that the technology works.

Ward says they are only discussing the possibility and looking into the research.

Ward says he is excited about possibly being at the forefront of this new technology.

He says the county could make a decision sometime soon, and set-up could begin as early as January.

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