Clarendon County to open new landfill

by | February 4, 2019 6:00 pm

Last Updated: February 3, 2019 at 4:26 pm

Garbage is created minute by minute on a daily basis. Trash cans can be found in homes, businesses and public spaces, ensuring trash is cleared away. Out of sight, out of mind. But how does the trash system truly work in Clarendon County.

According to Clarendon County Administrator David Epperson, Clarendon County is only a point in the chain of trash management for household trash. Each tin can, paper plate, dryer sheet and drink container is picked up by Waste Management and is taken to Sumter to sort. Once sorted, the trash is then transported to a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill on Screaming Eagle Road in Richland County.

Recyclable items are also taken on the same trip. However, this may end in the future, as it becomes harder and harder for Waste Management to find buyers for the recyclable items. First, Waste Management eliminated glass recycling in Clarendon, followed by other items until only plastic bottles remain.

Residents have noticed the lowered frequency with which the huge plastic recycling bins at the waste centers are picked up. Often the bins are left full and closed, leaving residents with the quandary of whether to store the plastics until a new bin is left, which can take weeks, or toss the plastics into the general household waste and lose the opportunity to recycle.

“Apparently the market for plastic is almost non-existent anymore,” said Epperson. “China has stopped purchasing the product, and Waste Management is struggling to find other vendors.”

In the not-too-far future, it is likely Clarendon will no longer be able to recycle anything, and all waste will be transported to the landfill in Richland County.

But what’s in our landfill here in Clarendon?

Decades ago, Clarendon had both an MSW landfill and a construction and demolition debris (C&D) landfill. However, the County closed the MSW 25-30 years ago, according to Epperson. The remaining landfill is C&D only, and it’s almost full.

Not to worry, though. The County has been planning for this eventuality for some time.

“About ten years ago, we acquired land adjacent to the C&D landfill in preparation for an expansion,” said Epperson. “We’ve been working with our engineers and have come up with appropriate plans for expansion.”

As the current landfill nears capacity, the County is making final preparations to begin dumping in the new section.

Last week, County officials met and discussed the situation. Within the next two to three weeks, the County will hire a contractor to build a road through to the new section and mark off appropriate areas. They will also begin the process of capping off and closing the landfill, which means bring in dirt and covering the old landfill areas.

However, they will open the new section to debris dumping prior to beginning the closing processes for the old section.

“People will go in the same gate as before,” said Epperson. “They’ll simply dump in a different area of the property.”

The County hopes to have the full transition completed by early summer.

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