Macon-Bibb to close household garbage landfill in the future
Residents will start dumping their garbage in the Twiggs or Houston County landfills. Both sited in Macon-Bibb will eventually close and that’s costing the county around $16 million.
“It’s a perfect storm of events that are all coming together at the same time,” said Macon-Bibb Mayor Robert Reichert.
Mayor Reichert has been pushing to close the county’s landfills since his campaign for mayor. He said the Macon-Bibb’s is inefficient.
The state is requiring the county to close the inert or “yard waste” landfill in six months because it doesn’t meet new state regulations. New reports show the municipal solid waste or “household garbage” landfill will reach capacity in about three and a half years.
“Most of that decline came from the 20% increase in tonnage that we put in there,” said Macon-Bibb County’s Solid Waste Director Kevin Barkley.
Barkley explained that additional trash comes from the county’s improvement projects.
“The blight situation and tearing down the 125 homes or plus that we did last year,” explained Barkley.
Mayor Reichert said the household garbage landfill will have to shut down and it’s going to cost between 10 and 15 million dollars.
“I am not going to site a new municipal solid waste landfill in Bibb County. I just don’t think we have the right area,” explained Mayor Reichert.
County leaders plan to use nearby county’s landfills and build two new facilities instead.
“Build a recycling center and a transfer station and transfer our waste, if we have to, to one of these other facilities, or look at other technologies that may be coming along that we don’t have to divert any waste to a landfill,” explained Barkley.
Officials don’t expect to lose any jobs during this transition.
“We will need everyone of the jobs that we currently have, it will just be in a slightly different capacity,” said Mayor Reichert.
Mayor Reichert said the closure can take a few years. He added, until then, the county needs to decrease the amount of trash it puts into the landfill because three and a half years isn’t long enough to cap it.
The county is talking with a nearby government that might help fund about 80% of the $1.2 million dollars needed to close the yard waste landfill. Officials explained most of the money needed for both closures comes from the need to import dirt.
Barkley said the yard waste landfill only needs two feet of compacted soil to cap it off, but they can’t use the dirt in that area because they’re already using it for daily coverage. The household garbage landfill will need a high quality clay material. Mayor Reichert hopes the new penny sales tax will pay for the household garbage landfill closure.
Barkley said the Twiggs County landfill is charging the county a $22.50 per ton disposal fee. That money is coming out of the Solid Waste Department’s budget. The department used to pay itself that fee when it disposed of waste at the Macon-Bibb County landfill.
Mayor Reichert said the landfill area could be used a green space because of the location and view.