After ceasing operation in the early 90s, the Zorn Street Landfill is close to being officially closed down, according to Upson County Water Superintendent Danny Johnson. He told the Board of Commissioners last week that the county is entering into the last 10 years of a 30-year period of monitoring groundwater contamination required by the EPA to give official certification of the solid waste landfill being closed.
However, in order to complete the requirements, additional engineering has to be put in place at the cost of just under $70,000 for this year. The Zorn Street Landfill is a joint project between Upson County and the City of Thomaston and the fee will be split between the two entities. The county commissioners signed off on their portion of the contract during last week’s meeting.
Johnson told the board the landfill must have zero monitoring where it is considered completely clean for three consecutive years in order to receive the certification. If there are not three consecutive years on record, then the entire process starts over for an additional 30 years. He noted that after doing some research, the approximate 50-acre site would cost nearly $4 million to monitor for an additional three decades; which makes the nearly $70,000 on top of the regular contract for Atkins Engineering (which handles the monitoring) of $184,000 not seem as high as the alternative. Johnson stated the engineering firm submitted a corrective action plan that would ensure the landfill would meet or exceed all the requirements in the designated time period. He noted the additional engineering would take place in two different parts, one taking three years and one taking two, which would give five and when added with the three clean years that brings it up to eight years total to complete. The final two years would allow for time to finalize the paper work and any other things that will need to be submitted. He feels certain that this new engineering will take care of the rest of the monitoring.
“We’ve punched enough holes in the landfill that we know where the water is and which way it is moving,” said Johnson. “In other words, there is no doubt that this won’t take care of things.”
The board approved giving County Manager Jim Wheeless the authorization to sign off on the county’s portion of the project to get things in place.