1) What is the plan to remedy ground water contamination from the old Phase I Landfill?
Phase I material moved to a lined Landfill. There is benzene contamination polluting the ground water around this old landfill and surrounding private property. The EPA is mandating a 5 year time frame to complete but more importantly it is the right action to take for the residents neighboring the Landfill. Removing the garbage from the old unlined landfill will remove the source of the contamination and it is expected to then begin dissipating.
2) What are the options to pay for it?
There are two options to pay for the cleanup. A contract has been let and work is underway to mine the garbage from a 15 acre cell and place in the existing Phase II Lined Landfill. This will cost the County $2-$2.5 million. The County could continue cleaning out a section at a time with a total cost of approximately $41 million. The other option is to sell 340 acres to a Landfill Operator, turning the Landfill into a Regional one with the Landfill Operator assuming costs to mine and line the old Phase I. But selling the Landfill has some serious consequences delineated below.
3) What are the cost implications to a Putnam County household to not privatize the Landfill?
Correcting the old Phase I land fill problem will cost about $41 million. This equates to about $250 per household (33,000 PC households) per year for five years or double the current fee. Additionally, the Landfill will soon reach Class 5 status with additional regulatory requirements such as methane gas collection and treatment system estimated to cost $4.5 million requiring even more assessments.
4) What is the anticipated additional revenue or funds that Putnam County will receive as a result of privatizing and making the landfill regional and what will the County do with the $?
Sale of the 340 acres - $25 million
Release of closure escrow funds - $6 million
Host fees for out of County waste - $1.5 million per year
The County plans to reduce the garbage assessment fee possibly $30 per household but we’ve not seen what the plans are for the remaining windfall. The County should transparently develop a plan for the use of these funds.
5) How else will privatizing and making the Landfill a Regional Landfill affect me in Putnam County?
A Regional Landfill means accepting household garbage from surrounding counties up to 175 miles (excluding Georgia). The amount of garbage would be limited to 1,750 tons per day initially and up to 2,500 tons per day when the North East Area of the Landfill is permitted. To put this in perspective, this would be about 80 trucks per day initially then up to 125 trucks per day with NEA approval (20 ton per truck payload). As operational hours are only sunup to sunset, we assume 12 hours of operation; this could be up to 10 trucks per hour. The amount allowed to come in from outside the County could be more than 10 times what is generated from within the County now. Truck traffic obviously increases and there has to be a deteriorating and costly effect on our road infrastructure. It would help us to have a more complete understanding of this project if at least some estimates of increased road infrastructure costs could be provided.
6) What is the aesthetic impact of a Regional Landfill?
How does a 150’ tall hill sitting in the middle of Putnam County look to you? The county has permits allowing it to grow the landfill to 150’. A Regional Landfill will have the same permit but obviously the hill will grow a lot faster. And eventually a new landfill must be built on that 340 acre property. Think of the landfills on I-95 in South Florida. You can’t miss them as you drive up or down the highway.
The trucks delivering garbage from outside the County will be sealed tractor trailers so the issue of smell or escaped garbage while transporting shouldn’t be an issue. However, with the tremendous increase in volume you could anticipate a significant increase in “escaped” garbage at the Landfill as the trailer is tipped to empty the garbage. There should be a plan to keep the escaped garbage under control and not a nuisance to the Landfill neighbors.
The increased truck traffic will kick up a lot of dust and noise. There is a potential for a private truck entrance to the Landfill that could relieve the dust and noise the Landfill neighbors would otherwise see. The private truck entrance should be a requirement.