Laurens County to expand landfills, but not changing the footprint

lmorris@macon.comJanuary 6, 2013 

A planned expansion of Laurens County landfills will add nearly 45 years of capacity to one and about 11 years to another without adding to the footprint of the existing landfills.

“We’re doing a modification to our existing permit,” said Michael Snipes, solid waste director with the Laurens County Solid Waste Management Authority. “It’s more of an operational thing, but we do gain a substantial amount of (landfill) life by doing this.”

The original landfill design included sides about 20 feet high with flat terraces about 30 feet wide, Snipes said. The landfill opened in 1996, and a lot of older landfills have this design.

The modification will include taking out the terraces inside the existing landfill and “utilizing the space that is consumed by the terraces,” he said. The change will create a more modern landfill design.

“It’s better use of available space and zero cost by using a landfill already built,” Snipes said. “The slope drain and all environmental and erosion measure will still be used. ... There is no environment impact from the removal of the terraces.”

The remaining capacity on the city’s solid waste landfill is 31 years and the expansion would add 43 years to that, which will give the landfill 74 years of remaining capacity, he said.

As part of the modification, about 20 acres will be added to the construction and demolition landfill. That landfill had about four years of remaining capacity, and the modification would add about 11 years capacity.

The landfills are next to each other on Old Macon Road in northeast Laurens County.

The county requested the Regional Development Commission to do a regional impact study, which is required when officials plan a landfill expansion, he said. The commission notifies -- and asked for input from -- surrounding cities and counties that might be affected by the expansion.

Snipes said he doesn’t expect anyone will have an issue with the expansion.

“We are not adding to the footprint, and we are not adding additional acres to the facility,” he said. “So we have not had any negative comments at this juncture.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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