After the Ozark Mountain Solid Waste District terminated the contract with Via Recyclables for management of the district, Via owner Melinda Caldwell asked to make a statement about her time with the district.

Caldwell said that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality had frozen future grant awards until necessary documentation was in order when she took over in 2009. She said it took six months to get all that paperwork cleared up to start receiving grants again. The district was brought into compliance with state mandates and relations with ADEQ were improved.

Caldwell said she worked with competent board chairs Tim McKinney, Jeff Crockett, Terry Ott and Mickey Pendergrass. They shared mutual respect for each other’s’ hard work and determination to support waste management program needs and funding.

She said she worked with the district’s lawyer and receiver through mediation and nine litigations. She answered numerous FOIA requests and is still currently working with Arkansas Legislative Audit that she said will reveal a well-managed district.

Caldwell wanted to make it clear that she and her company had nothing to do with the purchase of NABORS landfill. In fact, she said her first visit to the landfill was after it was closed. She said she took on the job of helping to permanently close the landfill out of concern for the region’s solid waste management and to protect Pigeon Creek, Norfork Lake and the surrounding communities. After six years, permanent closure was achieved “an accomplishment that I am proud to have been a part of making happen,” she said. In addition, the DAMCO tire dump in Baxter County was completely closed and all programs are in compliance with state mandates.

“A large part of my work with the solid waste district has been to clean up messes inherited,” she said. “My accrued knowledge has provided a foundation in my public service and has served the district well. I leave things in good order.”

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