County gets good news from geologic study

Published 4:50 pm Friday, May 27, 2011

Decatur County Commissioners are one step closer toward finalizing the purchase of 800 acres of land from BASF that will be used to expand the county’s U.S. 27 landfill.

Commissioners received a good report from landfill engineer Steve Harbin, who presented results of a soil sample study done on the property the county has tentatively agreed to purchase. Harbin summarized the highly technical, 40-plus-page geologic evaluation prepared by TTL Inc. of Valdosta, Ga.

Geologists drilled four bore holes on the property, a former attapulgite mine located to the west of the county’s current landfill of U.S. 27 South, about 17 miles south of Bainbridge.

Email newsletter signup

Using the bore holes, geologists were able to determine the type of soil present at the site, the depth of the groundwater beneath the surface and were also able to measure the groundwater’s flow and direction, Harbin said. Water samples were taken and there was no contamination found, he said.

“I could find nothing that would hinder the county in purchasing the property,” said Harbin of the study, which was part of a 90-day due diligence period stipulated in the county’s tentative purchase agreement. “In fact, the conditions [on BASF’s property] are very similar to those at the existing landfill site.”

The next course of action, one commissioners had already approved at a previous meeting contingent on the outcome of the soil study, is to have a surveyor determine the precise boundaries of the land the county plans to buy, Harbin said in response to a query from Commissioner Earl Perry.

Perry said the boundary survey will be done by Hal Mills, a surveyor based in Bainbridge, who had already used GPS technology to mark the exact location of the bore holes and their elevation.

“Mr. Mills had previously helped us with other surveying work when we had some surplus property located within the City of Bainbridge that we put up for sale,” Perry said.

Under the terms of the sale agreement, the county government will pay $2,500 per acre, or approximately $1.9 million in total. The purchase will be funded by the county’s share of the most recently approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax; in approving SPLOST, voters allowed for construction and expansion of the U.S. 27 landfill as acceptable uses of the money.