Sunday September 24th, 2017 1:05AM

County review says food waste prohibited in landfill

By Staff
GAINESVILLE - A review released Monday by Hall County officials indicated food waste should not be put in a landfill on Old County Dump Road. The Gainesville Waste and Recycling Landfill has drawn concerns by citizens and county officials because of odor.

According to the review, the county position is that food waste is prohibited on the site for use in composting or disposal, something the county found had happened.

The landfill is at 2045 Old County Dump Road.

The following is Hall County's statement on its review of the landfill:

The County response has been developed to address concerns raised by both citizens and staff for property located at 2045 Old County Dump Road, Gainesville Waste and Recycling (GWAR) Landfill. At the most recent County Commission Board Meeting there were questions asked about this existing landfill site. The County began a review of activities conducted at the subject property some time ago to address complaints of an odor in the area. The review evolved to determine compliance with County zoning criteria and established ordinances.

The subject site in question has a history of recent zoning action as follows:

May 24, 2002 -Application of Rochester & Associates - 135± acres rezoned from H-B, AR-III, AR-IV and PID to PID.

This application expands the existing PID to the area generally south of the existing PID. Uses include: Continued operation of the existing auto salvage yard; Construct a landfill as a "Construction/Demolition Solid Waste Landfill" and an "Inert Solid Waste Landfill" in accordance with Ga EPD guidelines. Landfill use may include a recycling building, weigh station, office, maintenance building, and other facilities needed to operate the landfill. A 200 ft. buffer around the landfill is specified. New landfill activity is limited to 30 ft. above existing grade. No excavation of the previous landfill is allowed unless required by EPD.

April 24, 2003 -Application of Rochester & Associates - 137.7± acres rezoned from AR-IV and PID to PID.

This application expands the existing PID by 13.6 ac. into the area generally east of the existing PID. Application states that the 13 acres were left out of the 2002 application. Uses include: salvage & landfill uses as previously approved. All conditions from the 1996 & 2002 rezoning apply to the entire 137.7± acres.

June 29, 2007 -Application of Gainesville Salvage & Disposal - Amend existing PID on 137.7± acres

This application amends the existing PID. The applicant request includes: a solid waste transfer station (collect waste within county & transfer to landfills outside county); reduce buffer from 200 ft. to 100 ft. and raise the final grade for landfill activities from 30 ft. to 100 ft. The zoning approval includes: landfill activity height is increased to 100 ft. above existing grade; buffer is reduced to 150 ft.; Old County Dump Road must be brought up to industrial standards before it may be accepted into Hall Co road maintenance system; No MSW transfer station is permitted on the site.

NOTE: It is important to note a recent zoning request heard and approved by the Hall County Board of County Commissioners on November 8, 2012 is for a property adjacent to the subject site.

After gathering information from various County staff, including reviewing Georgia Environmental Protection Department (EPD) documents, site visits by staff, and a meeting with the property owner and representatives of the property owner, clarity on the activities taking place at the site have been obtained. The property had been approved for an Inert Landfill and a Construction/Demolition Landfill. Per Hall County Code 8.60.030 these respective landfills are defined as follows:

1.The property had been approved for an Inert Landfill; according to the definition of the Hall County Code 8.6.030, Inert waste landfill means a disposal facility accepting only waste that will not or is not likely to cause production of leachate of environmental concern. Such wastes are limited to earth and earth-like products, concrete, cured asphalt, rock, bricks, yard trimmings, and land clearing debris such as stumps, limbs, and leaves. This definition excludes industrial and demolition waste not specifically listed. Said term also excludes household garbage, liquid waste, hazardous waste and other similar types of refuse.

2.Construction/demolition waste means waste building materials and rubble resulting from construction, remodeling, repair, and demolition operations on pavements, houses, commercial buildings, or other structures. Such wastes include, but are not limited to, asbestos-containing waste, wood, bricks, metal, concrete, wall board, paper cardboard, inert waste landfill material, and other nonputrescible wastes which have a low potential for groundwater contamination.

The property had received recent EPD permits as follows:

January 11, 2012 - Obtained an approval from EPD for a major modification to the original permit for the GWAR C & D Landfill to allow composting of wastewater sludge, partially decomposed waste from the original landfill, that is excavated and ash.

June 22, 2012 - Obtained an approval from EPD for a minor modification to the operating permit to add the following components to the composting operation: Food waste from restaurants, grocers, and other commercial establishments.

Based upon the previous conditions of zoning, most notably in 2002 and 2003,

1.The landfill shall be approved as a Construction/Demolition and an Inert Landfill only. (Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Landfill was not permitted).

2.No excavation on the previous landfill shall be allowed unless required by EPD. If EPD requires excavation within the previous landfill, the developer shall coordinate with the Engineering staff to minimize odor from such excavation. The engineering recommendation shall be brought before the Hall County Commission as a personal appearance for final approval.

The 2002 and 2003 approval does not specifically address composting of food waste on site. It is clear, however, that food waste was prohibited from being disposed of in the landfill. It was determined that food waste was brought to the site and utilized in composting. Based upon the County ordinance definitions of landfills and conditions of zoning as outlined above, the County position is that food waste is prohibited on the site for use in composting or disposal. Food waste has been deemed to be the predominant source of odor from the site. Furthermore, based upon County review, food waste will be strictly prohibited on this property.
In addition, there was excavation of a section of the existing landfill in the spring of this year. The County Engineering Department should have been contacted to ensure compliance with Condition (2) outlined above. The matter should have been brought forward by the operators of the landfill, reviewed by the Engineering staff, and brought before the County Commission for approval prior to any excavating taking place. The property owner has been notified that excavation was not consistent with the condition of zoning originally approved.

As a result of the County review, the following remedial steps will be taken;

1.The County Marshal's office will conduct random visits and continue to monitor activities on the site.

2.Any correspondence from the EPD or other governing agency of landfill operations shall be provided from the property owner directly to the County Engineer and County Marshals Supervisor.

3.The operator of the site is required to contact the County Engineer and County Marshal Supervisor for any interpretation of consistency with local ordinances and regulations.

The County is appreciative of the citizens who expressed concerns about the well-being of their community. The property owner has also been cooperative and receptive to the County's review and determination of facts in the matter. It is always Hall County's intent to ensure the opportunity for business and industry to operate successfully within the parameters of local ordinances and regulations in a manner which does not adversely impact the quality of life of its citizens.
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