Macons Public Works Department is making detailed plans to get back in compliance with state landfill standards, but what will help most is a few days without rain, according to Public Works Director Richard Powell.
In November 2012, the Walker Road Landfill passed inspection for the first time in years, scoring 95 out of 100 points. A passing grade is 80. But another inspection in late June found a long list of recurring problems, and the score dropped to 50. Left uncorrected, environmental violations can bring punitive action: In October 2011 the city paid a $35,000 fine for chronic problems. That was when the city gave Powell more equipment and help, leading to the passing score a year later.
With its most recent notice of violation, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division asked for a written plan to fix the landfill problems within a reasonable time frame, in order to talk specifics and schedule a follow-up inspection.
We were going to see what they had to say and then make a decision, said Clayton Bristol, an environmental specialist with the EPD.
On July 15, Powell wrote to Bristol outlining his plan.
Your environmental concerns related to the City of Macon Walker Road Landfill are our concerns, Powell said. We will remediate all deficiencies in a timely fashion.
He asked for a face-to-face meeting to discuss details as soon as possible. The city is not pleased with the landfills condition and fully intends to return to compliance, Powell said.
We worked hard to achieve a score of 95 in our last inspection, and we will work incessantly to correct all non-compliance issues cited, he said.
Following the last inspection, EPD team supervisor Scott Henson told The Telegraph that unusually heavy June rains probably had caused problems at most landfills and that he expected Macon to cite that as a cause.
Powells response indeed cites the effects of rain and chronic equipment downtime, quoting a Telegraph story on the record 12.25 inches of rain in June -- four times the June 2012 total -- and saying seven pieces of equipment were out of service for an average of two months each in the eight months since the previous landfill inspection.
Powells letter includes a long list of detailed actions for each noted violation, most dealing with erosion control. Those actions, such as regrading surfaces, clearing ditches, building berms and growing grass, are scheduled to take place from immediately in some cases to Nov. 30 in others.
Monday, Powell discussed the corrective plan with Macons interim Chief Administrative Officer Dale Walker.
We have not yet heard back from the state on their response to the proposed actions or on the request for a meeting, but we will follow all direction provided to return the landfill to compliance, Walker said in a statement through Public Affairs Director Chris Floore.
Powell said earlier this week he hasnt yet been notified of a follow-up inspection, but that theyre usually done twice a year, so there should be ample time to work. Via email, he said Thursday that some problems already have been corrected.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.