EPD: Eagle Point Landfill has several violations
Advanced Disposal given 15 days to respond
The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources informed officials that Eagle Point Landfill is not in compliance with agency regulations as they pertain to solid waste. Advanced Disposal’s South Region Operations Manager Gerald Allen was given notice of seven violations at Eagle Point Landfill.
EPD’s Land Protection Branch Chief Jeff Cown wrote in the Notice of Violation that “due to recent slope stability concerns which resulted in a temporary halt of the operations” at the landfill, the EPD conducted a review of the design and operational history of the landfill to “determine compliance with the Solid Waste Handling Permit and the Rules and Regulations for handling Solid Waste Management.”
The notice was issued with the intent by the EPD to “document the violations occurring at the facility and obtain expeditious compliance” and following the review, the facility was cited for seven violations.
The landfill must be designed to ensure permanent slope stability. Violation: Instabilities observed throughout most of 2014 and a separate instability observed beginning May 17, 2018.
A municipal solid waste landfill to be designed by a professional engineer, registered in Georgia to ensure permanent slope stability. Violation: The facility is accepting waste that does not fall within the range of design parameters used by the professional engineer to ensure permanent slope stability.
A municipal solid waste landfill is required to have a leachate collection system designed by a professional engineer registered in Georgia. Violation: The facility is being operated in a manner which does not fall within the design parameters for leachate generation and management.
Operation in accordance with the approved Design and Operation (D&O) plan. Violation: The facility is not operating in accordance with its D&O plan; it is operating outside the parameters used by the professional engineer for the facility’s design.
Disposed solid waste must be covered daily. Violation: Solid waste at the facility is not being covered daily beginning May 18, 2018; cover was not re-established over all exposed solid waste until June 11, 2018.
Landfill to control on-site populations of disease vectors: Violation: Landfill has failed to meet this requirement by leaving waste uncovered over multiple nights.
Surface water requirements
The seventh violation listed was “Landfills to comply with surface water requirements of the Clean Water Act and not to violate requirements area-wide or state-wide water quality management plans.”
When contacted for specifics regarding the violation, EPD Solid Waste Permitting Unit Manager Chad Hall emailed Smoke Signals stating:
“For surface water requirements, EPD had not observed that a violation occurred. However, since waste was left exposed for a long period of time and the facility was also dealing with a leachate outbreak, we asked that ADS explain if and how they remained in compliance with these requirements.”
The notice listed four corrective measures that the facility is required to perform to regain facility compliance with the permit and the D&O plan. Included in those measures are:
Eagle Point Landfill facility must demonstrate how runoff that contacted uncovered solid waste beginning May 17, 2018 was managed to meet the requirements of the rules. The landfill must place additional acreage under final cover to comply with design requirements.
Leachate quantities in the landfill must be reduced by limiting the amount of high content waste disposed. Henceforth, waste disposed at the facility must reasonably approximate the waste characteristics upon which the facility design is based. Reducing the amount of high moisture content waste received at the facility shall be necessary to achieve this.
Advanced Disposal is to provide a written response within 15 days of the June 22 notice detailing the steps that have been or will be taken to gain compliance.
In an email to Smoke Signals, Hall wrote, “We have not received a written response to the Notice of Violation as of 7/2/2018, but we are receiving regular updates on facility conditions from Advanced Disposal and their consultant. Since many of the people working on the response have days off around the July Fourth4th holiday, ADS has requested and been granted an extension until July 13 to reply to the Notice of Violation. Eagle Point Landfill is continuing to operate, though ADS is voluntarily limiting the amounts and types of waste being received while the mass movement is being monitored.”
Local activists respond
Local activist and staunch supporter of Stop Trashing Forsyth and the Etowah, Lynnette Weiler eagerly shared her fervent thoughts.
“We were glad to see that the EPD issued a notice of violation but based on the severity of the violations with the landslide and the leachate seep, we had expected to see both fines for the current operations and restrictions on the proposed expansion,” she stated.
“According to the EPD notice, the landfill has been accepting too much liquid and sludge waste, operating 1.5 times the open area they are designed to have, and generating more than two times the design leachate volumes. As a result, approximately 441,000 gallons of leachate (‘garbage juice’) was released by accident between 5/17/18 and 6/8/18, instead of going into the collection systems as designed.
“According to Advanced Disposal, they contained the seep in temporary dikes and redirected it to the collection system. However, we have not seen any test reports to date of any surface water in the area to find out if any of the leachate reached the Etowah River.”
As of July 14, Hall said in an email that a reply from Eagle Point had been received. The email read “I'll confirm EPD received a written response late yesterday, but since we have not had time to evaluate and discuss internally, I can't comment further on it.”
On the same day, Eagle Point Landfill posted on its website the following statement: “Advanced Disposal is currently working with the EPD to provide all pertinent information to address their requests and will proivde [sic] all EPD-based regulatory compliance reports to Forsyth County.
Pursuant to Section 2.5 of the MOU, Eagle Point Landfill has completed the installation and certified testing of the 60-mil geomembrane protective liner and is now installing the leachate drainage media and collection system for Cell 15.
County fills positions requested by activists
Owned by Advanced Disposal, the landfill has been the focus of Stop Trashing Forsyth and the Etowah, a citizens’ activist group, for some time due to concerns about dumping in the Etowah River, debris flying off trucks, speeding trucks, and health-related issues of nearby residents.
Members of the group have attended hundreds of meetings with local, state, and federal government officials regarding the landfill, the old Hightower dump (located next to the landfill), and Advanced Disposal. As a result of the group’s efforts, Forsyth County has created two positions related to the landfill and has filled them, according to Cindy Jones Mills, Forsyth County Commissioner, District 4, where the landfill is located: Environmental Scientist Manager Samuel Buckles and Code Enforcement Officer/Landfill William Charles McDaniel.
Mills issued an email informing the group about the new hires:
“I feel both employees will bring expert opinions and the professionalism and knowledge base we have been looking for and waiting on,” the email reads. “As you know, these positions came directly from the new memorandum of understanding we were able to achieve with Advance Disposal and with the assistance and input of many of you.”
Local activist Lynette Weiler, is optimistic about the new employees. “The new hires look well qualified and we are looking forward to them leading the effort to protect the environment,” she said. “We hope to meet with them in the next few months to update them on our research.”
Additional items to be requested of Forsyth County include: start testing private wells in the area and initiate a formal Etowah River Water Quality Testing Program.
The group had an open forum last fall during which they presented issues to representatives of the EPD and Advanced Disposal. As a result, the EPD reviewed the application of Advanced to expand. It has approved Part 1 and is reviewing Part 2.
Legislation was passed to increase tipping fees (the money the dump pays the county) with a requirement that 50 percent of the fees have to be used for landfill related expenses.
“The bill Kevin Tanner worked on will be a law, since it was passed by both houses [of the Georgia Legislature],” group member Brenda Henderson said. “It has not been vetoed by the governor.”
Currently up for re-election, Tanner represents the citizens of District 9, which includes portions of Dawson, Forsyth and Lumpkin counties.
Forsyth County will handle issues regarding noise (between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.) and litter and can be contacted by phone 678-513-5893. Violations may also be reported on line at https://www.forsythco.com/Departments-Offices/Code-Enforcement/Reporting-Violations
“It is really important that people continue to call the EPD numbers whenever they see or smell an issue,” Weiler said. “The EPD is taking notice. Do not call the landfill, they are not required to log the calls.”
Their work is not over, according to Weiler, who along with activists, encourages anyone concerned about the landfill to attend Forsyth County Commissioner meetings.
The EPD has not approved the expansion, which further encourages Weiler.