County seeks to expand landfill

Published 7:09 pm Friday, January 15, 2010

Decatur County is seeking to significantly expand the size of its landfill on U.S. 27 South, with the goal of further extending its usable lifetime and continuing its profitable operation well into the future.

At their Tuesday meeting, Decatur County commissioners held public hearings on the siting of the expansion adjacent to the current landfill.

The expansion would add 3 million yards of air space and add an estimated additional 20 years to its lifetime. Advancements in solid waste technologies and a possible future acquisition of additional property for the landfill could effectively extend its lifetime indefinitely, County Administrator Tom Patton said at a commissioner work session held Monday.

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The county is currently on its second phase of four phases for its permitted landfill.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division required the county to conduct additional soil drilling before it can move ahead with the third phase; however, that has been done and a report filed, said Steve Harbin, the county’s landfill consultant.

The county has submitted the design for the expansion. The next step will be for EPD to issue a public advisory and review the plans, including a hydrogeological study, according to permitting procedures.

Additional public hearings will be held after the EPD releases a site suitability report and a review of the permit application. There will also be periods for comments and appeals.

A retainer wall would be placed around the expanded landfill and a 200-foot buffer all around the site would be maintained, Harbin said. If the expansion were approved, an existing area of the landfill used to store inert waste could be converted to store construction and demolition materials, Harbin said.

Jim Overman, chairman of the Decatur County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, said the expansion “makes sense financially” and said the committee supported the plans.

Richard Crook, a member of the committee who lives on Crystal Lake near the landfill, said he has not been aware of any negative impact from the site.

The landfill makes the county $1 million to $2 million in revenue each year, thanks to its acceptance of waste from customers in the surrounding area, particularly the Big Bend of Florida, according to County Finance Director Carl Rowland.