The DeKalb County Landfill may be out of space within a year but instead of searching for a new site the county is looking to develop a solid waste transfer station.
During Monday night's meeting, County Mayor Mike Foster told the county commission that its time to make a decision. "We really need to put this in high gear because the cell we have right now is filling up pretty fast. We thought it was going to be a good year (before landfill is out of space), but it now looks like eight to ten months," said Foster. "Part of the reason is because our compactor burned and we're not getting the compaction that we were. Our new compactor, which is not really new. It's rebuilt. It should be here in about two weeks. When we get that compactor in, what I'd like to do is dig part of that up and pack it back in which should give us much better compaction than we have been getting and maybe gain us that four months back," said Foster.
Under a transfer station operation, household garbage would continue to be collected at local convenience centers across the county, then loaded onto trucks and brought to the transfer station, where the garbage would be separated from recyclables and then loaded onto semi trucks and transferred to a landfill site in another county. DeKalb would contract for the garbage to be hauled out of county and for the disposal of it at a certain price per ton. The recyclables would be baled and sold.
Should the county develop a transfer station, Foster said the county could keep a Class III-IV landfill for disposal of non-household garbage, such as construction materials. "We would probably want to keep a Class III-IV cell for construction materials. We could use the property we have over there (current landfill site) for the Class III-IV or CD which is for non-household garbage. We wouldn't have to build an expensive cell with a rubber liner for it. This would just be lined with clay. It would only be for construction debris, mattresses, and things of that sort. If we go to having a transfer station, we would then probably be able to go into a really good recycling situation where we would try to recycle plastics, paper, cardboard, and metals," he said.
Convenience sites would still be required throughout the county and residents could continue to bring their household garbage there or directly to the transfer station. "You bring it (household garbage) into a transfer station. Dump it out. You have people there that pull out the cardboard, the metal, the plastics, and some of the things that you can recycle and then you dump the household garbage into a semi truck. You pull the recyclables out and put them in boxes and take them to another shed and bale them into bales of about 1300 pounds apiece. Meanwhile the garbage you put in that semi truck, you pay some landfill to take it and dispose of it that way you don't have to have a Class I landfill. So its hauled and disposed of, then you bale your recyclables and put them into a storage shed until you get enough for a load or two and sell them to some agency or company that buys it (recyclables)," said Foster.
According to Foster, DeKalb County would have fewer environmental worries about solid waste, if it had its own transfer station "It probably won't be any cheaper but it will get us out of the environmental liability that we're in. It gets worse every time you build a cell. Use to, you put a two foot clay liner under it. It (regulations) went from a two foot to a five foot clay liner. Then you added another layer with a 60 mil membrane there. Then you had to put two feet of crushed rock on top of that. It (regulations) just keeps getting worse. Now, we've got to go back in the cell we're in and put a rubber cap on that on the entire five to seven acres. That's an expensive proposition," said Foster.
In the fall of 2011, Foster and members of the county commission visited Overton County's solid waste transfer station (See photos above). Foster said Monday night he would also like to see the Crossville operation. "I will try to have some information back from an engineer by next month. I've got a copy of a couple of transfer station blueprints. But I'd like for us to go see the one at Crossville and then figure out what we want to do," said Foster.