Changes ahead for New­ton’s land­fills

Trash pickup may be fran­chised out

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

The Multi- Ju­ris­dic­tional Solid Waste Man­age­ment Plan, re­cently ap­proved by the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, in­cludes fu­ture plans for an ex­pan­sion of the county’s land­fill and the pos­si­ble fran­chi­se­ing of curb- side trash pickup.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­vised plan, at some point in the fu­ture lined mu­nic­i­pal solid waste land­fills and un­lined con­struc­tion de­mo­li­tion waste land­fills will all be con­sol­i­dated into lined land­fills which are much bet­ter for the en­vi­ron­ment.

The con­sol­i­da­tion will also in­crease the to­tal re­serve airspace at the Lower River Mu­nic­i­pal Solid­Waste Land­fill where all of the county’s solid waste is sent and where the county’s cen­tral re­cy­cling pro­cess­ing cen­ter is lo­cated.

Since 1998 all mu­nic­i­pal solid waste has been placed into a lined land­fill at the Lower River Land­fill. Since 2007 all waste, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion de­mo­li­tion waste, has been placed in a lined land­fill.

Per­mit mod­i­fi­ca­tion re­quests to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Di­vi­sion are pend­ing for the ex­pan­sion project which would re­quire the re­lo­ca­tion of the re­cy­cling pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity to a 65 acre tract im­me­di­ately to the west of the land­fill. The ex­pan­sion project would also re­quire the re­lo­ca­tion of all solid waste his­tor­i­cally placed with­out a liner sys­tem to space with a liner sys­tem.

“I think it’s go­ing to be a lengthy process from talk­ing to our en­gi­neers,” said County Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer John Mid­dle­ton of plans to shift solid waste from one land­fill to an­other. “The sec­tion that they’re talk­ing about min­ing out is the area where we do have some meth­ane and the flares that burn off. We’re just look­ing to re­lo­cate that.”

Mid­dle­ton said a time frame for the project had not been set.

“[The land­fill is] go­ing to go from 10 years of life right now to prob­a­bly 30 plus years,” said the county’s solid waste man­ager, James Peters.

The Lower River land­fill cur­rently has a life span of ap­prox­i­mately 12 years for mu­nic­i­pal waste and over 30 years for refuse. Ac­cord­ing to the solid waste man­age­ment plan, the land­fill site cur­rently oc­cu­pies 217 acres of which 88 are per­mit­ted for dis­posal. Of those 88 acres, 14 have been used with­out a liner sys­tem for mu­nic­i­pal solid waste and 37 are cur­rently used with a liner sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­vised solid waste plan, the BOC plans to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of im­ple­ment­ing stan­dards for garbage col­lec­tion com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing within the county.

“The plan is to look at the pos­si­bil­ity of putting some stan­dards in place that those in­de­pen­dent haulers to­day need to com­ply with to be el­i­gi­ble to pickup,” Mid­dle­ton said, adding the county likely would not be im­ple­ment­ing any stan­dards pro­gram this year.

Mid­dle­ton said the pro­fu­sion of trash haulers in some sub­di­vi­sions who of­fer trash pickup on dif­fer­ent days of the week has led to con­fu­sion among res­i­dents who aren’t sure when they should be leav­ing their trash out for pickup.

“From time to time we do get calls con­cerned about the qual­ity of ser­vice that’s be­ing per­formed by th­ese in­de­pen­dent haulers that we’ve con­tracted with,” Mid­dle­ton said. “Some of th­ese haulers are not li­censed in New­ton County. They’re just in­de­pen­dent haulers that peo­ple in­de­pen­dently con­tract with.”

The county’s solid waste man­age­ment plan had pre­vi­ously been ap­proved in 1993. Since then it has been up­dated in five year in­ter­vals. A com­pre­hen­sive re­vi­sion of the plan was pre­pared ac­cord­ing to the guide­lines of the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs.

De­spite not achiev­ing a 25 per­cent re­duc­tion in the per capita gen­er­a­tion of solid waste com­pared to that gen­er­ated in fis­cal year1992, as was the goal when the plan was orig­i­nally ap­proved in 1993, the county did ex­pe­ri­ence a slight de­crease in its per capita waste com­pared to that of the state which has seen its solid waste pro­duc­tion steadily in­crease over the years.

In 1992 the av­er­age waste gen­er­ated per per­son on a daily ba­sis in the county was 5.4 pounds. In 2007 the amount fell slightly to 5.29 pounds a day.

Mid­dle­ton said the work done by Keep Cov­ing­ton/New­ton Beau­ti­ful and Peters in ed­u­cat­ing res­i­dents in the county about re­cy­cling has been es­pe­cially help­ful in re­duc­ing the county’s per capita waste.

“They’re the ones that pulled ev­ery­one to­gether,” Mid­dle­ton said.

Among the re­cy­cling pro- grams re­cently im­ple­mented by KCNB are an elec­tron­ics re­cy­cling pro­gram and a paint, pes­ti­cides and other house­hold haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als re­cy­cling pro­gram. Once a month th­ese ma­te­ri­als are ac­cepted for re­cy­cling at the Lower River land­fill.

In 2007 New­ton County res­i­dents gen­er­ated 94,547 tons of solid waste and re­cy­cled 6.8 mil­lion pounds of solid waste.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Garbage land: House­hold garbage fills Phase 2 of the New­ton County Land­fill. In the back­ground, the com­pleted and cov­ered Phase 1 of the land­fill can be seen. As Cov­ing­ton con­tin­ues to grow, more land­scapes such as this are likely to spring up around the county.

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