JESUP, GA (WSAV-TV) The location of a proposed coal ash dump site is the subject that took over a solid waste management meeting in Jesup Monday. Coal ash is the waste left behind when coal is burned to produce energy.
Wayne county leaders in the solid waste authority took tough questions to representatives of the privately owned landfill that has requested it take in more coal ash. Citizens also did not hold back any punches.
“If their permits get approved by the core of engineers that landfill will have the capacity to handle ten thousand tons of coal ash a day,” says county chairman Kevin Copeland.
What troubles the chairman even more was that if not for the discovery by the local news, Republic Services, who owns the local landfill, may have successfully applied to dump millions of tons of coal ash without county intervention. That fact has troubled hundreds of residents so much that they are taking action.
“It totally dumbfounds me how they can get by and get this far along that everything is approved except that railroad spur they want,” says Wayne County native Richard Burns.
During the county meeting, environmental experts with the landfill informed solid waste management leaders that from 2006 to 2014 they were already took in a total of 800,000 tons of coal ash. The Environmental Protection Agency came out in 2015 considering the chemical residual waste material no longer a hazardous material. In the county meeting however, Republic services representatives had to explain what they plan to do to sell residents on allowing in this potentially toxic material.
“We’ll be developing fact sheets in the coming weeks, days and hopefully we can get that directly to the commissioner’s office and the Wayne County solid waste authority and also to the general public,” says environmental manager Jeremy Potzcher with Broadhurst Environmental Landfill which he says is a subsidiary of Republic.
Those facts will be the evidence representatives take to public hearings requested by district congressman Buddy Carter and U.S. Senator David Perdue. The solid waste authority of Wayne County voted unanimously in the Monday meeting to also request and support public hearings on the permit requests between the landfill and the Army Corps of Engineers.
“We’re concerned about the monitoring system, how well they monitor it, what happens if there is a leak we just have a lot of questions we want answered,” says Copeland.
Those proposed public hearings between Wayne County residents and leaders along with the Army Corps of Engineers and representatives of Republic are set to take place in mid-March.