DHEC holds public hearing

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A handful of residents turned out for a public hearing presented by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The hearing was presented at the request of citizens who wanted to know more about Williamsburg County's application for demonstration-of-need to expand the Williamsburg County Class Two Landfill located behind the closed Class 3 municipal waste landfill on Gapway Road in Salters. The Class Two C&D (Construction and Demolition Debris) Landfill is nearing capacity. The proposed expansion is for an increase in elevation only from the existing 82 feet to 102 feet. The Class Two landfill does not take in solid waste: rather it accepts waste the department determines as environmentally safe for Class Two landfills. The materials include land-clearing debris such as brush and limbs, rocks and vegetation. Other acceptable debris includes animal carcasses (conditional), PVC, tires and asbestos-containing material. Asbestos (friable and non-friable) is subject to regulation before it is accepted. Once accepted it is disposed in a designated area and covered immediately. The public hearing provided citizens an opportunity to comment on zoning, demonstration of need, consistency with the plans, and buffers for the proposed expansion. Nancy Cave, Coastal Conservation League, North Coast Director attended the hearing. Her questions included clarity on the timeframe when the landfill will reach capacity. "The reason I asked that is there is enormous capacity in the area around Williamsburg County," said Cave. "And Williamsburg County doesn't produce a whole lot of C&D. And I don't think they're going to start producing a whole lot of C&D. We haven't seen enormous growth in the area. So, how many years. What are we talking about?” DHEC Project Manager Justin Koon responded. "I don't know exactly how many years. I do know that two years ago they told us in 24 months they would be full." The facility's current tonnage limit is 4,370 tons per year. The maximum yearly disposal rate can be increased up to 54,370 tons per year. According to Koon, the county has not indicated anything near that amount; however, he said for the last two years they have exceeded their permitted tonnage by a very small amount (but within the 10 percent grace granted by DHEC). Koon cited a 2013 annual report showing 4,773 tons. The report will be published in March. Nesmith resident Tommy Stuckey asked if there is a record of out-of-state waste coming into the county. Koon said of the last three annual reports submitted by the county, none reflected the county accepting any out-of-state waste. Cave pointed to the department's push for a regional approach. "Instead of using this as an opportunity to expand an existing landfill, it’s an opportunity to regionalize, it is an opportunity to recycle," said Cave. The problem, according to Julie Blalock, is cost. Blalock said transport cost is different for C&D waste than it is for municipal solid waste and the reason why many counties that closed their unlined landfill kept their C&D landfill open. "It is very costly to transport C&D material - really - any greater distance than 20 miles. It becomes, a lot of time, a hardship for the county." Citizens' comments will be considered before a final determination is made. This portion of the process is considered Phase One. Citizens on the department's mailing list will receive notice of the decision.  The department's final decision may then be appealed within 15 days of notice. If Phase Once approved, the department will conduct a Phase Two that includes a public hearing. Additional information can be viewed online at SCDHEC.gov

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