With Columbia County's Baker Place Road Landfill weeks away from closing, some area garbage haulers say they're preparing for the change but haven't yet seen a big increase in those signing up for service.
"We really haven't seen any spikes in our business,'' said Mark Odekirk, the general manager of trash haulers Advanced Disposal, which recently opened a transfer station on Columbia Road in Appling. "We have a pretty steady growth rate, but we've not seen any additional spikes in that.''
The closing of the landfill, off Columbia Road in Appling, is set for Jan. 31. After that closing, county residents who don't have a hauler will either have to take their own trash to the new Advanced Disposal transfer station or the Richmond County landfill, or pay a hauler to do so.
Odekirk said his company services people who live in such areas as Appling or near Thurmond Lake and that the closing of the landfill won't affect that service.
"There won't be any service changes that the customers will experience as a result of the closure of Baker Road,'' he said. "What we're hoping is those who have been hauling their own trash might actually find the convenience of having it picked up at their door. So, we're actually anticipating probably an increase of our business after the close.''
There are, however, some hauler companies that don't service the outer areas.
"We go right to the line of Appling. We don't actually service Appling,'' said Envia Crawford, a bookkeeper for Economy Sanitation in Martinez. "The houses are so spread out in that area, the fuel prices would just kill us.''
Besides the issue of residential garbage, one main concern has come to the attention of officials in the midst of the county landfill closing.
"The only thing we need to look at is some way to dispose of yard waste,'' said Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross. "That seems to be a lot of people's concern. But as far as the regular solid waste goes, they won't notice any difference in their present operation.''
When it comes to yard waste, Sample and Sons, on Columbia Road next to the rock quarry in Appling, once accepted all types of such debris. Now, the company is accepting grass and leaves, but larger yard debris is having to be sent to a Richmond County inert landfill or a site off Old McDuffie Road that Sample and Sons sends customers to.
"Up until three or four months ago, we were taking everything as far as inert yard debris, anything from trees, stumps, logs, grass. And then EPD notified us that we had to shut our burner down,'' said Brian Sample, of Sample and Sons, which also accepts construction demolition debris.
"When they shut down the burner, we, of course, quit taking anything large ... When we get our burner back up (according to EPD guidelines), we'll open that business back up,'' Mr. Sample said.
Steve Rabun, the owner of R&R Rolloff Inc. in Grovetown, said his company mostly picks up construction debris, but that it also offers a yard-debris pick-up service throughout the county.
Odekirk said county residents without a hauler will be able to visit his company's transfer station to drop off household trash.
"It's going to be comparable (to the landfill) in the fact that they can get rid of garbage and bulk items and the like,'' he said.
"Where it differs is as a result of the size of our site, we just are unable to accommodate things like recyclables, refrigerators, tires, things like that. Physically, our site does not allow us to have room to segregate these materials.''
Odekirk said the price of his transfer station also will be somewhat comparable to the landfill, with the gate rate at the station $38 a ton, $10 for car deliveries and $20 for pickup truck and tow-trailer deliveries.
The landfill charges $32.50 a ton, a price tag Crawford, of Economy Sanitation, said she had been hoping the transfer station would offer after the landfill's closing.
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