The first six months of construction and demolition debris collection at the Horry County landfill is up compared to the same time last year, but it’s still too early to tell whether the increased collection will prevent expected cuts to programs now that the county repealed the requirement to keep that debris in its local landfill.
Officials at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority reported to its board Thursday that the landfill collected nearly 6,700 tons of construction and demolition, or C&D, debris from July 2013 to December. During the same time in 2012, it collected about 5,100 tons.
“We’ve really stepped up about a 31 percent increase over last year for the same period of time,” said Bill Hilling, director of operations and planning at the authority. “With the decision that was made last week across the bridge with C&D going out of here, we want to still keep up well over what we’re taking in per month, number of tons recycling, but we’re probably going to have to take loads that are pretty marginal... But the goal is to recycle as many tons as we can.”
“We knew they were up a little bit,” said Danny Knight, executive director of the authority. “We’re going to do a report strictly on C&D to where we can all see what’s happening and see how much we do lose.”
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Horry County Council voted earlier this month to repeal the C&D portion of its 2009 ordinance that required haulers to bring their debris to the county’s landfill instead of out of county. It was a hotly contested debate among council members considering the authority spent about $850,000 in the last five years to defend the ordinance in local, state and federal courts.
By repealing C&D, authority officials have said they fear haulers will begin to take C&D debris out of the county because the cost-per-ton is cheaper than hauling to the county’s landfill. However, Knight said, haulers have been cautious to take their debris elsewhere until council members approve the minutes of the final reading, which is slated for Feb. 4.
“The ordinance says they were effective in the third reading, but everybody knows you really don’t do anything until you approve the minutes, because someone can change it,” Knight said “We’ll be watching it real close next month.”
If haulers begin to take their debris elsewhere and collections amounts decrease, recycling programs in schools, pick up of recyclables at businesses, savings for the landfill’s post-closure plans and the filling of up to five positions can be impacted.
“We just have to see,” Knight said. “We hope we’re wrong.”