FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Eagle Point Landfill in northwest Forsyth County is causing a stinky situation for the community.
Beginning earlier this year, Clean Eagle RNG, LLC, requested a rezoning of 10 acres for a proposed recycling plant totaling more than 15,000 square feet and five parking spaces.
Clean Eagle attorney Christopher Light wrote in a letter to nearby neighbors the purpose of the recycling facility would be to collect the “existing methane gas emitted from the adjacent landfill and refine it to produce a usable natural gas for consumer use.”
After multiple meetings between the county, the public and officials from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division over the past few months, the Forsyth County Commission approved a list of recommendations Sept. 7 that should be forwarded to the state.
The county is the host jurisdiction of the landfill, and sent the letter after a recent public participation meeting Aug. 22 which brought to light many issues the community had with the proposal.
Because the state regulates landfills, the EPD will have final say on the expansion, but
County Commission Chairman Todd Levent wrote in the letter Eagle Point is one of the busiest private landfills in the state, with records showing it receives more than 5,000 tons of waste daily.
While the county’s correspondence is not related to Eagle Point’s expansion application, per se, Levent said issues related to that application and the surrounding public involvement in the issue have convinced the county it must raise its own concerns.
He listed multiple rules the county wants the division to mandate for landfills, including:
Mandatory tire washing for all trucks entering and exiting a landfill.
Mandatory and limited hours of operation.
If hours of operation are not considered appropriate, then enhanced regulations regarding the operation of vehicles delivering waste to the landfill such that they operate with enhanced sound abatement devices.
EPD should advocate that the state Legislature increase the mandatory local minimum local host fee from $1/ton to $3/ton.
Mandatory odor abatement and control.
The state-mandated public hearing and citizen involvement requirements for expansions or modifications to the landfill permit are inadequate.
The waste often consists of soil, sludge and asbestos and the majority comes from outside the county, according to citizen group Stop Trashing Forsyth and the Etowah.
Amy Leurart is on the steering committee for the group and wrote a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal naming common issues.
The existence of such landfills in Georgia that allow distant municipalities, counties and other states to truck their solid waste, asbestos, hydro fracking waste, ash and contaminated soil away into “someone else’s community is at odds with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s stated mission to ‘encourage the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials,’” Leurart wrote.
“Where is the community’s incentive to handle their own solid waste responsibly, when they can simply send it out on a truck to someone else’s neighborhood?” she said.
If the proposed landfill was suggested for the banks of the nearby Etowah River, it wouldn’t pass environmental muster, she said, which is causing much concern for opponents.
“So how can the Georgia EPD, in good conscience, approve an expansion that will bring contaminants in closer proximity to the waters of the Etowah?” she wrote.
The group asked the board to consider creating an environmental impact assessment, public health survey, an ordinance to protect the health and safety of residents, have a legal review of the zoning, write a letter to the division asking for a delayed decision and take no further action.