Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Biggest Landfill, Is Surrounded By A Mountain Of Garbage

Most folks in Spartanburg County depart for work before the hundreds of trucks carrying trash from North Carolina arrive at the Palmetto Landfill each morning.

At the intersection of Highway 29 and I-85 in Wellford, North Carolina, more than 280,000 tonnes of Tar Heel garbage were deposited last year. Approximately half of the rubbish imported into South Carolina comes from other states, and Palmetto Landfill is the state’s biggest repository for solid wastes. Palmetto, a 110-acre landfill operated by Garbage Management of South Carolina, was constructed in 1979 and mostly accepts industrial waste. With earnings of $25 million last year, it has evolved into an enormous 270-acre monster. Economic development, stronger environmental restrictions, and the savvy business methods of Waste Management have made Palmetto a solid-waste magnet in the Upstate of South Carolina, according to experts. The Palmetto Landfill received 939,112 tonnes of rubbish in 1997, with a median of 400 trucks unloading each working day. 30 North Carolina counties were responsible for around 30 percent of the waste. On the contrary, in 1994, the Department of Public Health & Environmental Control allowed Palmetto to over treble its size. The landfill can accept up to 1.2 million tonnes of garbage each year. Read also The State Of South Carolina Has Polluted Stormwater.

That implies an additional 100 trash trucks will be dumping there every day if it fills to full. In the neighbourhood near Palmetto Landfill, residents have long complained that truck traffic, dust and odours from the landfill have ruined their lives. State health and environmental regulators have regularly authorised Waste Management’s request to expand the dump, and county officials are unable to enforce more strict regulations than those mandated by the state.

Why Landfill Expanded? 

It was the state’s 1991 Waste Management Act, which made it prohibitively costly for small cities to create their own landfills, that sparked the spectacular expansion of the Palmetto Landfill. To make up for the loss of unlined landfills, huge regional landfills are being built to take their place. Growth and development in the Upstate continue to fuel this trend. More garbage will be hauled to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, this year than in previous years. A total of 27 landfills in North Carolina and 12 landfills in South Carolina shuttered their doors in December, respectively. 

The North Carolina counties of Rutherford and Henderson have inked contracts with Palmetto to transfer all of their household and industrial garbage this year. Almost 150,000 tonnes of rubbish will be trucked from two North Carolina counties to Wellford. All of Spartanburg County’s other facilities for home and business garbage can only handle this much in a year. Laurens & Newberry Counties in South Carolina also send their waste to Palmetto, which receives roughly 80,000 tonnes each year. More landfill area is required as a result of Upstate development. Pepper, 34, is a proponent of growth, but it comes at a high price.

If another factory is being built by BMW or Michelin, no one wants to speak about the garbage that will be generated by the new facility and its additional workers. Ultimately, it must find its way someplace. As a result, the county’s landfill had to take three times as much garbage without Palmetto. Public landfill permits may be amended to take more garbage, according to county authorities, and the additional volume can be dealt with quickly. Each part of the dump at the landfill is prepared for garbage by spending $350,000 per acre by Waste Management. When it comes to garbage disposal, Palmetto costs the equivalent of $30 per tonne. A tonne of trash at the county-owned facility costs $47. 

Palmetto’s fees are cheaper since the expenses of managing the landfill are spread out across a bigger volume of garbage. By taking in garbage from a wide geographic area, regional landfills enable private dump owners recover their investment. Many counties are unable to create a new landfill because of strict legislative regulations. Meant to force county landfills from out business. As stated in the legislation, counties are required to collaborate with other jurisdictions. Costs would be prohibitive for small counties. Closing Croft Landfill & expanding county’s Wellford site cost Spartanburg County around $9 million. Unlined landfills in North Carolina were due to shut by the middle of last year under rules identical to those from the Palmetto State. 

State governments face similar issues with building expenses to in South Carolina. – One of North Carolina’s most scenic and touristic counties, Henderson, is currently transferring all of its garbage to Spartanburg County for disposal. Because the landfill was due to shut in December, the county’s commissioners decided last autumn not to replace it. For the next three years, they signed a three-year deal with Waste Management to transport up to 10 huge truckloads of waste per day to the Palmetto Landfill. According to the director for Solid Waste in Henderson County, David Nicholson, the county had to invest $9 million to build a new landfill that fulfils current environmental regulations.

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