FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Officials from the Georgia Environmental Protection Department held a public hearing January 6 regarding the Title V Air Quality permit renewal for Eagle Point landfill, in northwest Forsyth County.

The permit is a requirement of the 1990 Clean Air Act because landfills are a major source of air pollutants. It includes a permit for the leachate evaporator and will be renewed for five years, if approved. 

A leachate is any liquid that carries with it soluble or suspended solids of the material through which it passed. An air quality station promised by the county is not yet operational, so the landfill is self-reporting on air pollutants. 

Community activist Lynnette Weiler said residents are anxious to see what chemicals are in the air.

“But now that we finally have the capability to measure the contaminants, we learn that the air quality thresholds for Forsyth County were increased last year per the Title V Permit Narrative.”

Issues with the landfill date back to April 2014 when Advanced Disposal, the facility owner, requested to expand the operation. That decision remains on hold.

Just last April, Houston-based Waste Management announced it was acquiring Advanced Disposal in a $4.9 billion deal. 

Officials with Waste Management said the acquisition would help expand the company’s footprint, improve customer service and help find sustainable waste solutions.

Over the past several years, the landfill has faced fines from the Georgia EPD of more than $200,000 for violations of the state’s Air Quality, Water Quality Control and Comprehensive Solid Waste Management acts. The landfill was also cited by the EPD in August 2018 and unexpectedly closed to commercial traffic at that time. 

Prior to the closure, cracking was observed in a cell in May 2018, the same day a significant seep started leaking leachate from the slope.

In 2014 the landfill was cited for instability issues created by large amounts of liquid within the waste. The EPD memorandum stated that the 2014 incident should have “made clear the significant differences between design assumptions and operation practices” and the landfill should have limited high-moisture content waste.

Other violations included releasing contaminated stormwater into “wetland adjacent to the Etowah River,” which exceeded effluent limits; failure to maintain a flame or flare when venting landfill gas; safety factors related to seismic conditions; accepting “waste with material properties” not allowed under current rules; and uncovered solid waste.

Denise Ray is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Forsyth county.

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