Tag: SWA

Is Further Expansion of SWA Landfill Needed?

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority’s latest plan to extend operations at the Hwy 90 landfill until approximately 2050 appears to have sprung out of nowhere in recent months for no apparent reason.

At a recent board meeting, SWA Executive Director Danny Knight told board members the latest expansion plan was moving forward because it was the authority’s responsibility to maximize the use of available land at the Hwy 90 site for waste disposal.

Actually, that statement runs counter to the ordinance that established the SWA in December 1990. Ordinance 60-90 states there is a need to develop an acceptable alternative for solid waste disposal and to reduce the amount of tonnage disposed in sanitary landfills in Horry County. It further states the high water table and other geologic characteristics in Horry County “make utilization and expansion of the existing landfill and development of new landfills especially expensive and difficult.”

Through the years since the authority’s opening in 1992, that section of the ordinance has been forgotten or ignored by a succession of SWA staff and board members.

The timeline set by the SWA for what is being called “Piggyback Expansion Phase III” hopes for a permit for the expansion to be issued by SCDHEC in June 2019 even though Piggyback Phase II is only now under construction and Phase III will not be needed until 2040 at projected disposal rates.

Why the rush? Shouldn’t the SWA staff and board members be seeking alternative means of disposal of the county’s solid waste?

The answer to the first question is not available to the public and not known by county council members, only a few of whom have recently become aware of these expansion plans.

The answer to the second question is “Yes” only if the SWA board and staff believe it is their responsibility to obey the law that established the authority in the first place. To date that has not been the case.

And what of the cost? It was only 18 months ago that the SWA projected a $33 million shortfall in needed funds by 2024 unless it received a nearly 50% increase in tipping fees. County council approved an immediate $7 per ton increase with additional $1 per year increases as the SWA needs them.

SWA to Ship More Trash Out of County

The Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) will be shipping more construction and demolition trash out of the county in the coming months to meet requirements of Horry County Council.

When the SWA received council permission to change its budget in order to process recyclables from Charleston County, Horry County Council told the SWA that no airspace at the SWA landfill on Hwy 90 could be lost to Charleston trash.

Since the SWA landfill is the only facility in which Horry County municipal solid waste (household garbage) is disposed, council’s concern was that the full landfill capacity be saved for Horry County residents.

In approximately five years, MSW and C&D waste from Horry County will be commingled in the SWA landfill, according to SWA officials. The landfill’s available disposal volume for Horry County trash is currently projected to run out in 2042.

In order to meet council’s requirement, SWA executive director Danny Knight told council the SWA agreed to ship C&D waste, currently disposed at the SWA, out of county in an amount equal to Charleston residual trash resulting from the SWA/Charleston County recycling contract.

“We have structured a program where we (SWA) will match ton for ton, day for day, however you want to do it, we will send that much material out of our landfill to a landfill across the river,” Knight told the Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee at its September 24, 2015 meeting.

SWA then board chairman Lance Thompson reiterated Knight’s statement at the same meeting, “This will be a net neutral effect. Anything that’s coming to our landfill from the direction of Charleston County, we’re going to send out (of county) the same amount of C&D…”

After an extensive study of SWA reports related to the Charleston County recyclable contract, Grand Strand Daily determined that requirement was not being met.

Horry County Council vs. Staff

There seems to be a growing trend in Horry County that is prevalent throughout the nation. Government staff is working against Horry County Council members, and in its own interests, instead of working for council to institute policy decisions.

Helicopter amusement ride leases, adult entertainment regulations, solid waste actions have all recently had instances where county staff pushed its own agenda against the wishes of council and the better interests of the county in general.

A recently renegotiated lease with Huffman Helicopters, in which staff was directly instructed to include designated flight patterns to limit flight patterns over residential areas is missing the key inclusions.

Culture of Arrogance at SWA

The culture of arrogance that pervades the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) was on view for all to see at Thursday’s Infrastructure and Regulation Committee meeting.

The SWA was created by Horry County Ordinance 60-90 and its board is appointed by vote of Horry County Council.

The SWA is currently telling the IRS that it is a “discreet component unit of Horry County Government.” However, at Thursday’s meeting SWA Executive Director Danny Knight told I&R Committee members the SWA is ‘sometimes not the county, sometimes somewhat the county and sometimes somewhere in between.’

SWA Looking for New Flow Control Guarantees

While the South Carolina “Business Freedom to Choose Act” (H3290) remains stalled in a Senate committee, the Horry County Solid Waste Authority is making other plans to continue its flow control monopoly on solid waste disposal generated within the county borders in case the act should eventually pass.

The SWA is going to certain private haulers offering tipping fee discounts if the haulers will sign long term contracts to bring their waste to the SWA’s Hwy 90 landfill. This new “disposal agreement” would essentially keep flow control of solid waste in place for the SWA if it is outlawed by the General Assembly.

State Bills Would Outlaw Flow Control

Bills introduced in the South Carolina House and Senate at the beginning of this new legislative session would end the government enforced monopoly on solid waste disposal currently in force in Horry County.

For four years, the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, at its Hwy 90 landfill, has been the recipient of all solid waste generated within the county thanks to a flow control ordinance passed by Horry County Council in early 2009.

The ordinance was enacted because the SWA was losing money to private haulers that were able to dispose of construction and demolition waste more cheaply at private landfills in other counties.

Court Upholds Horry County Flow Control

Horry County may continue government monopoly flow control of its garbage waste stream, according to a ruling in federal district court last week.

The ruling dismissed the 2009 lawsuit by Sandlands LLC and Express Disposal Service challenging the legality of a county ordinance requiring all solid waste generated within Horry County be disposed of at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority landfill off Hwy 90.

With the dismissal, Horry County and the SWA will continue to exercise monopoly control over the county’s waste stream at the expense of a competitive market and private industry.

Phone Harassment Complaint Filed Against Horry County SWA Director Danny Knight

Complaint Filed Against Horry County SWA Director

A telephone prank got out of hand Wednesday resulting in telephone harassment charges being filed against Horry County Solid Waste Authority Executive Director Danny Knight.

According to complainant Chris Burroughs, who owns waste hauler EZ Dump, he received two telephone calls from Knight Wednesday morning referring to an incident during a SWA committee meeting two days before.

A special committee meeting was convened by the SWA Monday night during which Burroughs’ permit to recycle construction and demolition debris in the county was discussed.

Burroughs said there was an issue with the percentage of C&D material he recycled and with scale readings at his facility. The SWA had threatened to cancel the $5 per ton discount he receives as a C&D recycler and to charge him $18,000 for discounts already received.

Horry County Solid Waste Authority (SWA) Dumps Taxpayer Dollars On Lobbyists

SWA Dumps Taxpayer Dollars On Lobbyists

The efforts of the Horry County Solid Waste Authority to maintain its monopoly control of the county’s garbage was big business for lobbying firms during the recent legislative session as the SWA paid its lobbyists a whopping $263,888.40 during the first six months of the year.

For those of you who saw reports in local media and other blogs of a much smaller amount, $77,479, the difference is what was paid by the SWA in June 2012.

Rather than being ranked 21st on the list of entities in the state that pay big money to lobbyists, the June payments raised the SWA to the number two spot, only marginally behind the $276,000 AT&T paid to lobbyists this year to influence state legislators.