An anonymous donor has brought Daufuskie Island a step closer to consolidating a hodgepodge of trash and recycling operations at a single facility.
Officials at the nonprofit Daufuskie Island Conservancy want to reduce the environmental and financial costs of barging waste to and from four different places on the island, which is not accessible by bridge.
"The current waste-removal system of open containers periodically removed from the island on barges is both environmentally unacceptable and unreasonably costly to both the local community and county taxpayers," conservancy president Laura Winholt said.
A consolidated facility could help encourage recycling, spur business development, preserve land and discourage illegal dumping, she said.
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The conservancy received a $12,350 grant this year from the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry to study a "One Island Waste and Recycling Facility," but the grant was contingent on the conservancy raising matching funds.
The conservancy was preparing to raise the match when Winholt received a call last month from the donor, who offered to provide the full amount.
Since then, the conservancy has formed a focus group and commissioned Joyce Engineering of Richmond, Va., to analyze the island's needs, plan a facility and estimate its cost. The firm also will study the feasibility of using pulverized glass to stabilize dirt-road beds. The study began June 20 and is expected to take 90 days.
The conservancy hopes to model its plan after a facility on Lake Michigan's Beaver Island, which is similar in size and population to Daufuskie and also has no bridge, Winholt said.
Beaver Island's facility costs about $200,000 annually to operate and is covered by property taxes and user fees, Peaine Township supervisor Jack Gallagher said.
Gallagher said residents are generally "very happy" with the facility.
"It's developed quite a reputation across several states for the way it's handled and how clean it is," he said.
Winholt said the conservancy has ideas for possible sites for the Daufuskie center but would hold community meetings and conduct historical and community impact studies before picking a spot.
The conservancy then would seek grants or help from businesses, developers or Beaufort County government to build the facility, she said.
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- Daufuskie Island Conservancy website, with a link to video of trash and recycling facility at Beaver Island, Mich.)
- Grant helps preserve Daufuskie heritage, April 4, 2011
- Pending lawsuit halts county's work on Daufuskie Island trash-collection center, August 15, 2010
- County to move forward on Daufuskie Island waste center, July 19, 2010