By Paul Gable
(Ed. Note – This is the fourth in a series of articles on the Horry County Solid Waste Authority and its waste stream disposal.)
The Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA) is budgeting $50,000 net fiscal year to study the components in its waste stream.
The results of the study will be used as a basis for the HCSWA to issue either a request for qualifications or proposals from firms interested in helping save airspace at the HCSWA landfill on Hwy 90.
The more airspace that can be saved by diverting waste from being buried in the landfill, the longer the life of the landfill can be extended.
The planning for this study moves forward while representatives from RePower South continue to make presentations to groups of county and municipal officials hoping to secure a contract for its own plan for the Horry County waste stream.
Last week, local media reported RePower South made an hour long presentation to members of the Coastal Alliance where the company, reportedly, claimed it could divert up to 80% of the waste currently buried in the HCSWA landfill.
The media report included mention that members of the HCSWA would take a trip to Alabama to tour a RePower South plant in that state.
However, RePower South has no plant in Alabama nor anywhere else. The plant HCSWA board members will tour In Montgomery, Alabama is a recycling facility owned and operated by Infinitus Energy.
A corporate officer of Infinitus Energy told GSD that Infinitus Energy officials had conducted several discussions with RePower South, but that no formal agreement between the two companies has ever been concluded and the Montgomery plant is wholly owned and operated by Infinitus Energy.
According to the Director of Engineering and Environmental Systems for the City of Montgomery, the Infinitus Energy plant is currently diverting approximately 60% of the city’s waste stream from the landfill.
Saving landfill space is important as the HCSWA is beginning its final expansion of its landfill. Estimates by HCSWA officials say the Hwy 90 landfill will be at maximum capacity by 2035 at current rates of burying waste..
The HCSWA already does a good job with its recycling programs. According to recent statistics from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, approximately 50% of the Horry County waste stream is currently being recycled or otherwise diverted from being buried at the landfill.
Some of that diversion is due to flow control restrictions being removed last year on construction and demolition debris allowing C&D to go to out of county landfills for disposal.
Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus, who attended the Coastal Alliance meeting last week, said saving landfill space is a priority so the life of the current landfill can be extended as long as possible.
Lazarus said the RePower South presentation is only one of many he expects will be forthcoming in the upcoming months.
Lazarus said the discussion “is not about RePower South, it is about saving airspace and extending the life of the (HCSWA) landfill.”
Lazarus said once an RFP or RFQ is issued he expects to see a number of businesses respond with options for Horry County to save airspace at its landfill.
Then, the HCSWA can study the options, look at the costs and determine whether any company presents an option which should move to the next step of formal negotiations.