Post Tagged with: "Solid Waste Management Plan"

Horry County Council Needs Serious Study of New Solid Waste Management Plan

February 26, 2019 5:38 AM
Horry County Council Needs Serious Study of New Solid Waste Management Plan

Horry County Council will hold a workshop Thursday on the new Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) being proposed by the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA).

The new plan includes a proposed further expansion of the landfill on Hwy 90 in addition to an already approved expansion that, according to previous projections, was supposed to be accepting waste in 2017 but has not been constructed or needed yet.

Since its creation by Horry County Ordinance 60-90, the SWA has been tasked, “There is a need in Horry County to develop an acceptable alternative method of solid waste disposal and to reduce tonnage of solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills due to the County’s high water table and other geologic characteristics that make utilization and expansion of the existing landfills and development of new landfills especially expensive and difficult.”

Throughout its nearly 30 year existence, the SWA has failed to live up to this task. The latest proposed SWMP clearly demonstrates this failure by planning an expansion on top of an already approved expansion of landfill facilities.

The SWA staff and board members have been pushing for approval of the new SWMP since October 2018 so the authority can go forward to the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control with an application for a permit for the newly proposed expansion.

But, rushing approval through council so application can be made to DHEC for approval of a second landfill expansion when one expansion is already approved but not begun seems questionable.

The burying of solid waste is expensive. It becomes even more expensive when proposed expansions are built on top of former landfills which are already closed, which is the basic plan in the approved and proposed expansions.

In addition to construction and daily operations, much of the expense associated with a landfill is the cost requirements of both the state and federal governments to properly close exhausted landfills (closure costs) and to monitor what is happening in the buried waste for 30 years beyond closure (post closure costs).

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County Government Year Ending with a Bang

December 5, 2018 5:25 AM
County Government Year Ending with a Bang

Normally local governments are in a holiday lull between Thanksgiving and the first few days of the New Year, but that has not been the case this year.

Last week’s fall budget retreat for Horry County Council saw lively, spirited debate on providing money for I-73 and the Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s (SWA) proposed new Solid Waste Management Plan. The debates among council members were only opening salvoes in what I predict will prove to be two high profile issues in the coming year.

The vote of county council members last week gave county staff the go ahead to enter into a contract with SCDOT to plan for expenditures on the I-73 route in Horry County. There is absolutely no justification to commit $25 million per year, bond that amount for 20 years for approximately $350 million in operating capital, only to construct a road that will end around Hwy 917 and the Marion County line.

Unless and until the state and federal governments are willing to commit serious money, at least a combined billion and a half dollars to I-73, it is not a serious project and we should not be wasting county money on a freeway to the rural hinterland.

After nearly 30 years of existence, it is time for the SWA to understand it was created to manage the disposal of the county’s solid waste in the most cost efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly manner.

This does not mean continued, mindless expansion of the Hwy 90 landfill in an environmentally sensitive area and at an ever increasing cost to county taxpayers.

The SWA was specifically charged in its establishment ordinance “to develop an acceptable alternative method of solid waste disposal and to reduce the tonnage of solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills due to the County’s high water table and other geologic characteristics that make utilization and expansion of existing landfills and the development of new landfills especially expensive and difficult.”

The proposed plan calls for continued horizontal and vertical expansion of the existing landfill footprint with spiraling costs. It is time for council to conduct its due diligence before voting on the proposed, new plan.

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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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Solid Waste Management Plan Moves to County Council with Unanswered Questions in Limbo

October 14, 2018 4:59 AM
Solid Waste Management Plan Moves to County Council with Unanswered Questions in Limbo

Horry County Council will be voting Tuesday night on a revised Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) but questions about what is and what is not included in that plan remain to be answered before it is sent to the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

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.

The SWA has chosen to update its SWMP every three years. However, this year’s update includes plans for major landfill expansion projects that have only recently been introduced and with only sketchy details discussed in the plan and associated meetings.

Before the document is sent to DHEC, the SWMP receives approvals/endorsements of its contents from the Horry County Solid Waste Authority Board (SWA), a public hearing, city councils in the county and Horry County Council.

However, few questions have been asked about the overall plan or the expansion added in its latter stages. The SWA board acts as a rubber stamp for anything the SWA staff puts before it. Only one citizen participated in the public hearing. Of the city council members I have spoken to representing several of the municipalities in the county, none realized they voted approval for a proposed large expansion at the landfill. The county’s Infrastructure and Regulation Committee listened to the presentation at its meeting last week, asked few questions, none really in-depth, and recommended sending the resolution of approval forward to full council.

This lack of curiosity about major revisions at a county agency is neither proper oversight, due diligence nor good government.

If the expansions are approved as proposed, the authority will eventually have a class III (municipal solid waste) lined landfill on top of a class II (construction and demolition debris) unlined landfill, both on top of the original Conway dump site which contains municipal solid waste in an unlined pit.

At a recent board meeting, SWA Executive Director Danny Knight told board members the latest expansion plan was moving forward because it was the authority’s responsibility to maximize the use of available land at the Hwy 90 site for waste disposal.

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