© 2002-2005 Hart County Board of Commissioners 



Jon Caime
Hart County Public Works Director
March 5, 2003


The Solid Waste Division of the Public Works Department manages 8 convenience centers, 1 transfer station, manages all recyclable materials, manages disposal and recycling of yard wastes, disposal of illegally dumped tires and trash, and disposes of dead animals from the side of County roads.

In addition, there is a closed landfill that must be managed. The landfill must be routine maintained (grass, earthwork etc…) and routinely monitored for methane and groundwater issues. Currently the methane issues are being addressed due to the fact that explosive levels of methane are entering surrounding private property. In addition, groundwater issues are also being addressed.

An analysis of the operations for managing solid waste has also been performed. This analysis indicates the need to put aside capital replacement funding for the future replacement of equipment. In FY03 the tipping fees were increased with intent to develop this capital replacement fund.

If we do not plan and budget for replacement of capital assets we will be faced with a crises when these assets fail. By being proactive, we can anticipate when these assets will fail, have funds available for replacement, and operations can continue without interruption. The alternative may be to halt collection of solid waste until solutions to failed assets can be implemented.

1. Install methane alarms
2. Install GW check dams, send report of this action to EPD
3. Methane Monitoring plan revision January
4. Annual Landfill Maintenance Work
5. Install new methane wells July 2003
6. Begin Capital replacement funds- continue indefinitely
7. Begin implementation of operational improvements
1. Groundwater/surface water assessment report of corrective actions to EPD-Spring
2. Phase 3 methane (install vents) to the EPD for approval, November 1, 2003.
3. Phase 3 methane complete, June 1, 2004.
1. Redo the DCA Solid Waste Management Plan

1. June 2006 verification that methane migration problem has been resolved. If the problem still exists at this point we will proceed with phase 4 methane.

Hart County must maintain a “Solid Waste Management Plan” (hereafter referred to as the DCA plan) for the GA DCA. It is important to note that this plan is a reporting requirement with some long range goals. This reporting “plan” however is not a comprehensive operational plan and analysis.

The DCA plan was created in August 1992 and must be updated periodically. Currently we have updated the short term work program that was adopted for the period 1999-2003. The entire work plan must be reworked by October 2005. Below is the remaining schedule for the update of the short term work program.

2.A: Methane Gas Management
The past methane gas management program has not been successful in keeping methane gases that develop from the decomposition of the landfill wastes from migrating to privat property. A long range program has been developed and is in the process of being implemented.

With this plan, future phases will build on the investments of the initial phases. If a phase does not solve the problem, then the next phase will be implemented. At any point that the methane gas migration problem is corrected the subsequent phases will not be developed.

Phase 1: Methane Alarms- Budgeted at $50,000 (Finish 2003):
We are currently in the process of installing methane alarms in the residents affected by the offsite methane migration. This will warn the residents if explosive levels of methane build up in their houses. Each resident will be provided an “action sheet” that tells them what to do if the alarm goes off. Once the alarms are installed, they will need to be routinely calibrated.

Phase 2: Relocate Monitoring Well locations: Budgeted at $30,000.
It appears as though some of the methane monitoring wells may not be at the permitted boundary (across from landfill road). The data indicates that in several areas we may be able to move the methane monitoring wells to the other side of Landfill road and have a good probability of not detecting methane at the new location. If this meets GAEPD approval we may be able to reduce the scope of the next phase upon completion of this phase.

Convert MM-1, MM-2, MM-3, MM-4, MM-6 and MM-7 into passive vents and replace MM- 2, MM-3, and MM-4 across Landfill road. Moving the wells to the permitted boundary may increase the likelihood of success of bringing the County into compliance in some areas. In this manner we will be able to determine exactly where methane is migrating off site and adequately plan for phase 3 (remedial). The Methane Monitoring Plan will be modified as well during this phase.

Phase 3: Install Passive Cap/perimeter vents: Budgeted at $100,000
This phase will install vents in the landfill cap near upper perimeter of the landfill. The number of vents to be installed will be determined at the end of Phase 2. These vents will be installed so that they can easily be converted into methane wells for an active system if necessary in phase 4. If no more methane is detected in the monitoring wells, then no further action will be required.

The County will prepare a plan to the EPD for review and approval by November 1, 2003. Once the EPD approves the plan, the County will proceed with developing bid documents and releasing the project to bid and anticipates having Phase III completed by June 1, 2004.

By June 2006 we would verify that the methane migration problem has been resolved. If the problem still exists at this point we will proceed with phase 4.

Phase 4: Install Active Methane Extraction system.: Budgeted at $300,000.
If the phase 3 passive system does not solve the problem we would then proceed to an active system. This will include installing a blower flare unit, wellheads, and header pipes to the vents installed in Phase III

Hart County has spent money analyzing any potential impacts to groundwater beneath the landfill. A plan of action has been presented that requires Hart County to install check dams in the Spring of 2003, in the creek to help remove any impacts that may be present. Once completed, a report of this action will be sent to GAEPD.

If acceptable to EPD, upon completion of the 2nd half 2003 groundwater testing event, (report expected in January or February of 2004), Hart County will provide an assessment of the groundwater and surface water corrective measures. At this point additional actions may or may not be required by EPD.

The closed landfill must be maintained by Hart County for several decades. Currently the landfill must be entirely bush hogged annually. In addition the Road Department is used annually to fill any depressions that form from subsiding trash below the cap that hold water. Any areas of erosion must also be corrected annually. The GAEPD performs annual inspections and any additional deficiencies must also be corrected.

The landfill must also be tested for methane generation currently on a monthly basis. The groundwater and surface water must also be tested for various constituents on a semi-annual (twice per year) basis. The current testing protocols have been recently updated and a revised testing schedule is being reviewed by the GAEPD for approval. The testing protocol should be reviewed periodically to determine if more or less testing is warranted.


2001: We managed 16,372 tons of materials. We recycled 2,144 tons of materials or 13% of our waste materials received. We sent 14,228 tons of materials to the landfill or % of our waste stream. Recycled materials include 1,165 tons of yard wastes that were mulched and 979 tons of cardboard, metal, aluminum, mixed paper, newspaper, plastic and glass.

2002: In 2002 we handled 16,491 tons of materials (1% increase over 2001). We recycled 1,644 tons of materials or 10% of our waste materials received and sent 14,847 tons of materials to the landfill or 90% of our waste stream. Recycled materials include 724 tons of yard wastes that were mulched and 920 tons of cardboard, metal, aluminum, mixed paper, newspaper, plastic and glass.

Recycled materials would equate to about 143 pounds per person. Landfilled materials would equate to 1,291 tons per person. Of course the waste we manage is not strictly residential waste so these numbers do not actually reflect the amount of wastes generated or recycled per person.

3.B OPERATIONS SURVEYS: About 200 Surveys were performed to determine how much traffic we have at each center and how we can improve our operations.

1. Employee Surveys: The solid waste employees were asked to complete a survey asking them if there were any ways we could improve their jobs, any complaints they hear regularly from the public and recommended solutions to these complaints, equipment and or supplies the clerks may need to better perform their jobs, and any safety concerns they may have.

Overview of Results:
· Complaints from Public were mainly about the hours and days of operation
· Dumping of trash in the transfer station is hazardous to the public.
· Request for better office facilities at the transfer station for the employees, the office area is under sized
· The office areas at the Convenience centers need an awning at the front to allow people to get out of the rain when purchasing bags. We no longer allow non-employees into the buildings because of the potential for theft and danger to the employees with the money we collect at the convenience centers. We will investigate the costs for installing these.
· Most of the Convenience centers have suggested wider steps at the offices. Narrow steps could be a liability and we will investigate this further.
· Several convenience centers have a problem with standing water which is a problem for the public and a liability especially when it freezes. We have plans and budget to correct this issue this year.
· Several other suggestions that are low cost will be implemented immediately

2. Convenience Center Surveys: The public was asked to fill out a simple survey asking them questions on how they would rank our centers overall, where can we improve, how can we improve, do you recycle, and how often do you visit the center. A total of 175 surveys were collected. Some of the comments have been addressed in #1 above especially the comments with regards to standing water and porch roofs.

The traffic count is listed in table 3.1. The traffic data is from about 5 weeks in February and early March. Therefore the transient lake traffic using the centers on Sundays during the summer may not be represented in the data presented in this table.

RANKING: In addition to the traffic count, the data indicates that overall the public ranks our centers as “very good”, the highest rating (88% of responses) with the remaining responses rating our centers as “good” (the next lowest rating).

Most of the centers were overwhelmingly rated very good with the exception of Nuberg where 68% responded that the center was “very good” and 32% ranked the center as “good.”

WHERE CAN WE IMPROVE: A choice of where we can improve (appearance of centers, hours of operation, days of operation, location of center, container locations, service) indicated that the largest complaint was about the hours and days of operation.

Twenty (20) responses desired more hours and 28 responses desired more days of operation. In a write in section where people could elaborate further on this, comments received were (in general):
· Keep centers open 6 or 7 days a week
· Keep centers open later on Saturdays
· Close centers on Sundays
· Open centers on Tuesday and Thursday

Several centers had numerous complaints about the standing water problem in the paved areas. We are addressing this issue this year.

DO YOU RECYCLE?: Ninety four (94%) of the responses indicated that they do recycle. This is probably due to the fact that we charge people to dispose of their trash on a pay as you throw program (where they pay more for more volume). However we do not charge for recyclables. This is a strong incentive to remove recyclables from their waste stream, discard the volume of recyclables for free and only pay for the remaining items (trash) that can not be recycled.

1. Once per month: 3% of responses
2. Twice per month: 14% of responses
3. Three times per month: 5% of responses
4. Four times per month: 41% of responses
5. More than 4 times per month: 37% of responses.

This data may further support the need for more hours and days to provide better service to the public.

The Solid Waste Operation can not shut down. If equipment fails an alternate means of performing operations must be obtained rapidly or the trash will not be able to be removed.

BUILDINGS: The transfer station and the convenience centers should be adequate to manage the needs of the County for at least 10 years based on the current population projections.

The only investment needed is a larger office area at the transfer station and a better convenience center at the transfer station so that individuals are no longer discarding trash within the transfer station building. Currently individuals without county trash bags are unloading trash within the transfer station building.

This is very unsafe because the transfer station floor is slippery. In addition there are sharp objects on the floor and the floor is dirty with wastes and liquids. Also of concern is the movement of large equipment in the station that creates an additional hazard.

To address this issue in the short term, two open top containers are planned to be placed at the station to allow individuals to dispose of wastes without having to enter the transfer station building. These open top containers however will create operational obstacles that must be addressed.

The solid waste operation has numerous pieces of equipment that operate in very harsh conditions. This equipment must be replaced at a routine interval as shown in table below. Failure to replace this equipment will result in a disruption of the solid waste collection operation.