The local landfill’s management contracted out to Santek Waste Management in 2006, according to Gordon County Administrator Randy Dowling, and Santek believes now is a good time to vertically expand the landfill.
The expansion will increase the capacity of the landfill, as well as the life, with no direct cost to residents, according to Santek’s Vice President of Engineering Rob Burnette.
Expansion: Horizontal Vs. Vertical
According to Burnette, every landfill has a “footprint” in regards to the number of acres it occupies, and in Gordon County’s case, the landfill has a footprint of 162 acres.
To conduct a horizontal expansion would include obtaining permits for more acres to increase the “capacity to dispose of tonnage,” said Burnette.
However, the goal of Santek is to conduct a vertical expansion, going up, instead of across, providing benefits for Gordon County residents without increasing rates, according to Burnette.
“There will be 18 years of additional disposal capacity at current intake rate, providing longevity not only for residents, but industry and future industry. If new industries move in, we want to make sure they have a disposal option,” said Burnette.
Vertical expansion will bring the landfill up to date even though it was not performing poorly. Burnette explains that the expansion would be considered usual maintenance of the landfill and has been done to other landfills.
“It is an opportunity to upgrade it (landfill) to the best available technology. [Expansion] is a common term used in the industry,” said Burnette. “Not that it was deficient in any way, but the new materials that are being used, we can incorporate into this permit and any Environmental Protection Department (EPD) regulatory changes or modifications.”
Though expansion would occur, there will not be any construction; it is merely a difference in how high solid waste is stacked, according to Burnette.
The Department of Natural Resources and the EPD demand a strict regulatory code to allow permits for landfills and expansions of any kind.
Typically, state permits of this kind equate to roughly $150,000 to $200,000. However, this approximation does not include internal fees. Any costs for the permit will be absorbed by Santek Waste Management. No money will come from Gordon County government for the expansion or the permits, said Burnette.
If Gordon County hadn’t contracted maintenance and management of the landfill out to Santek, the expansion would have come from Gordon County dollars.
The public hearing is one of the many steps for a permit from the EPD.
Once the permit application is submitted, the EPD will make suggestions before allowing the permit.
Santek is ready to meet all demands in order to attain the permit for expansion. Burnette hopes to have a permit in hand no later than early summer or late fall, he said.
All Gordon County residents are encouraged to attend the hearing at the County Commissioners regular meeting in which the floor will be opened up to residents to speak out about the expansion.
Santek will provide a presentation including the permitting process and what actions will be taken to obtain a permit from the state and how the vertical expansion should take place.
Citizens are encouraged to voice any concerns they may have about the vertical expansion.
Gordon County officials and Santek representatives have expressed favor for the vertical expansion.
“I think going vertically is a good thing for the future,” said Dowling.
The public is encouraged to attend the public hearing beginning at 6 p.m. May 15 at the Gordon County Administration Building, located at 201 North Wall Street, to offer any opinions, which they believe, are necessary.