‘We are the pay toilet of the nation’

17 11 2008

 

by JOHN MONK and SAMMY FRETWELL | The State

Three years ago, Tom Wood, a widower, former teacher and Navy veteran, moved to a remote spot in Marlboro County, hoping to live out his days in peace.

Now, he’s smack in the middle of a fight over what would be one of the state’s largest landfills ever — just a few miles from his home.

“This is a crying shame. It’ll hurt property values and stink things up,” said Wood, 68. The retiree is one of hundreds of people across the state fighting a little-noticed trend: the creation of giant landfills for household waste, much of it from other states.  Huge landfills are on the rise in South Carolina. The nation’s three largest garbage haulers — Waste Management Inc., Republic Services and Allied Waste Industries — have moved in, often under other names.

The Legislature never approved a policy allowing the state to become a garbage mecca.

But, with the approval of the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, South Carolina has become an East Coast destination dump.

The state buries far more garbage than it produces and is reserving space for even more.

South Carolina last year buried 4.8 million tons of its own garbage and an additional 1.7 million tons of out-of-state garbage. It could have buried more: DHEC has authorized state landfills to accept 9.9 million tons per year.

But if garbage landfills were to grow to the maximum allowed by law, they could bury 42 million tons per year — almost nine times what South Carolinians now put in the ground.

The state doesn’t earmark specific space for S.C. garbage. But landfill representatives say their excess capacity, authorized by DHEC, is for the state’s future.

The companies’ futures also are assured. They make millions importing other states’ household garbage. And if built, three landfills proposed in the past two years — in Marlboro, Williamsburg and Cherokee counties — could considerably increase what South Carolina buries.

Read on here.

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