Horry County to cap 33 acres of landfill by 2015

jrodriguez@thesunnews.comAugust 21, 2014 

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority will be capping 33 acres of its 1,700-acre property at the start of 2015, later than anticipated because of the county’s repeal of a portion of flow control.

For about the last 20 years, the authority has been filling the 33-acre tract of the landfill, which is 100 feet deep and 100 feet high, with municipal solid waste and some construction and demolition, or C&D, debris. However, a move earlier this year by the Horry County Council allowed C&D debris to leave the county, which has slowed the filling process, said Danny Knight, executive director of the authority.

“The project should end sometime around after the first of the year,” Knight said. “You can’t take that 33 acres in 20 years figure with what the future is of the regular landfill because of the repeal of C&D.”

Knight said rain days also have pushed the $7 million project back some. Horry County is one of nine landfills statewide owned by local governments. Fourteen others are privately owned.

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations require the authority to place a plastic liner on the landfill, then a liner that allows for drainage, and then 42 inches of sod before grass is grown on the capped landfill.

Jody Prince, county councilman for Horry County, was a proponent of repealing the C&D portion of flow control, often referring to what the county will do when the landfill closes, which is projected to be around 2040.

“If the C&D tonnage has gone down, then we’ve been successful,” Prince said. “We’ve got, what 20 years, maybe? And in those 20 years, who knows how we’ll be dealing with solid waste. We don’t know what kind of technology will be available.

“Meanwhile, I want to save just as much space as we can save, whether that means not putting as much C&D in, which is the easiest thing at the moment. I was pretty passionate about the C&D issue because I saw it as a way to save space.”

Knight met with community members in 2013 to discuss ideas on what to do with the county landfill on S.C. 90 when it is completely capped. Ideas have included multi-purpose fields, softball and baseball fields, camping sites, biking and hiking trails and ponds.

A total of about 1,700 acres – around 45 percent of which are wetlands – are on the solid waste authority’s property, and officials are leaning toward doing something with the land instead of simply maintaining the ground when it is closed. About $119 million in current and future funds designated to maintain the landfill until 2065 sits on the table for these plans. The monies have been generated and will continue to be generated from fees collected at the landfill, Knight said.

Currently, on hand, the authority has about $26 million to fund this project, and a $13 million landfill expansion project in 2015.

Knight said the landfill is monitored on a daily basis and the authority is constantly looking at more ways to encourage less waste in the landfill, including a food composting program where discarded food is used to enhance mulch.

“We’re starting that planning process now with our Solid Waste Authority [Technical Advisory Council] committee. We are asking then what they want us to look at and what they want us to be doing,” Knight said. “We’ve got 26 years to get that in place. The quicker we get that in place, the longer the landfill will last.”

Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or on Twitter @TSN_JRodriguez.

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