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County Council to Discuss Solid Waste Management Plan Revision

November 20, 2018 11:46 AM
County Council to Discuss Solid Waste Management Plan Revision

Horry County Council is scheduled to discuss the latest revision to the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) during its budget workshop next week.

According to information SWA Director Danny Knight provided to SWA board members recently, approximately 30 minutes has been scheduled for discussion of the SWMP and the county’s budget Fund 6 which provides revenue for the SWA convenience centers throughout the county.

The county’s SWMP needs approval from Horry County Council before it can be submitted to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The SWA initially requested approval during an October county council regular meeting and council Chairman Mark Lazarus scheduled discussion for the budget workshop to give council members time to study the over 500 page document.

This is a good first step. However, 15-30 minutes during the council workshop is probably not nearly enough time to dig into the details of the proposed SWMP and the inconsistencies that seem to be contained therein.

The SWMP is an important guidance document in that it outlines the plan the county has for the handling of solid waste for the next 20 years. Prior to requesting a permit from DHEC for change or expansion of services, that change or expansion must be included as part of the SWMP.

Included in the current SWMP revision is a large expansion of space for the burying of additional municipal solid waste (MSW) in future years.

This is being planned despite the fact that the SWA has never studied alternatives to burying more and more waste in Horry County as it was charged to do in the county ordinance 60-90 that established the SWA.

According to DHEC reports, there are nine county owned landfills in South Carolina. The SWA buries approximately 99% of the waste generated in Horry County in the SWA landfill on Hwy 90. The average amount of county generated waste buried in the other eight landfills owned by various counties in the state is 35%.

Other than its pride in being called “The Independent Republic”, why do Horry County solid waste management practices diverge so widely from what is considered sufficient in the rest of the state?

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Solid Waste Management Plan Approval Delayed

October 17, 2018 6:32 AM
Solid Waste Management Plan Approval Delayed

Horry County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to defer consideration of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s (SWA) revised Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) until at least the November 28 council fall budget workshop.

The new SWMP includes plans for a further expansion of landfill capacity at the authority’s Hwy 90 landfill, apparently in contradiction of directions contained in the county Ordinance 60-90, which established the SWA in December 1990.

Ordinance 60-90 states there is a need to develop an acceptable alternative for solid waste disposal and to reduce the amount of tonnage disposed in sanitary landfills in Horry County. It further states the high water table and other geologic characteristics in Horry County “make utilization and expansion of the existing landfill and development of new landfills especially expensive and difficult.”

In the nearly 30 years since its creation, the SWA has consistently failed to seek alternatives for solid waste disposal and reduce the tonnage disposed in landfills in Horry County.

According to records from the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), there are nine counties in South Carolina with public landfills. Horry County disposes approximately 98% of the municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in the county into its Hwy 90 landfill. The remaining eight SC counties who own and operate landfills dispose an average of approximately 35% of the MSW generated in their respective counties into their publicly owned landfill with the remaining amount sent to private landfills for disposal.

What is cost effective and good enough for those other eight counties is, for some undefined reason, not good enough for Horry County. Why? The SWA board and staff should explain the reason in detail to county council.

Amelia Wood, a former liaison to the SWA board from a Hwy 90 citizens group, expressed several concerns with the revised plan. Wood said there was no sustainable funding source, other than tipping fees, to pay for waste diversion programs of the SWA. She pointed out the more diversion programs are successful, less money will be available to fund them because tipping fee revenue will be reduced.

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