Columbia County commissioners Tuesday listened to public concerns about a proposed waste recovery site outside Grovetown and started over on the purchase of a road scraper.
Residents concerned about the impact of Tutt Contracting’s planned construction of a waste recovery facility on Gordon Highway voiced opposition to the plan, fearing environmental problems, increased traffic and a drop in property values.
The commission agenda called for granting the company a letter, required by the state Environmental Protection Division (EPD), stating that the proposed facility would meet the county’s solid waste management criteria.
Margaret Hogue lives on Parham Road, which borders the site. She told the commission that increased traffic, airborne particulates and runoff were of particular concern.
“There are 40 families that live near there, 40 families that all use well water,” she said. “We did not know this was happening and we’re all concerned.”
Commissioners weren’t in a position to either approve or deny Tutt the right to build, said Chairman Ron Cross. “It is, as I see it, a simple yes-or-no question tonight,” he said before the measure passed unanimously. “After that, it will be up to the (state Environmental Protection Division) to investigate.”
Still, the Commission asked company owner Preston Tutt to address the concerns of the community.
Tutt said he expects the facility, which will separate, sort, bundle and ship out construction and demolition waste, to receive about 25 trucks a day, all of which will access the facility from Gordon Highway. He said the site plan indicates runoff drains toward Gordon Highway, away from residential development, and that an on-site retention pond also will help mitigate waste.
“We’re not burying anything,” he said. “We want to be good neighbors.”
After much discussion over the course of several meetings, commissioners decided to reopen bidding for a new motor grader. The process restarted when the grader delivered did not feature a pull-out cooler demonstrated during the bidding process.
Charlie Roupe, the local Volvo construction equipment dealer who had secured the contract, said the pull-out cooler had been replaced on new models as an innovation, stating that fewer moving parts meant greater reliability. He said the first model with that feature he had seen was the one delivered to Columbia County.
Commissioners decided that because a different product had been delivered than purchased, the process would have to start again.
“It’s unfortunate that it has to happen this way,” Cross said.
Charles Allen voted against reopening the bidding process.