Pulling up to the Macon-Bibb landfill, the first thing that catches your eye is a big mound. On top of it, engineers work to level the top after the Solid Waste Department got a violation notice for the landfill.
They received a notice Friday from the Environmental Protection Division that they received a failing score of 50 on their last inspection. There were violations like exposed trash, standing water ponds, and using a spray epoxy to cover trash instead of dirt, which is against daily cover guidelines.
Pat Raines, interim Solid Waste Director, says they didn't expect to have to change their covering method to dirt instead of an epoxy shell. It's costly -- she says a week's supply of dirt costs them $30,000. The spray costs them $20,000 for a 6-month supply.
"We go by that every day, but according to the inspector, it was not covered efficiently. Hopefully, when the inspectors come back, they will lift the inspection and we will be able to use the epoxy shell again," said Raines.
Raines says they've already gone to work fixing some of the violations, but the rest involving erosion and inspection records are going to take more manpower to fix. She says she only has 7 people working at the over 100-acre facility. Raines says she has had trouble filling their 4 vacant positions and she'd like 4 more to get the work done. She's asking the county to cut out the high school diploma requirement and raise starting salaries from near $13 an hour to $15 an hour.
She hopes that would give the Solid Waste Department more manpower to handle problems that pop up.
Raines says the solid waste department has less than 30 days to respond to the EPD.
They need to score an 80 to pass the next inspection and avoid fines. The last time the landfill received a failing score of 75 back in April of 2016. The county received an $8,000 fine in 2017. They say that's their only fine in the last 5 years. The landfill in it's current location is expected to close by 2023. Raines says they're looking at finding a new location.