SYLVANIA, Ga. (WSAV) – A rural community is wrestling with a question of economic growth versus concern for the environment.
Screven County residents are divided about a proposal to bring a commercial landfill into their community. If approved, Atlantic Waste Services would place the landfill on an area currently occupied by a dairy farm.
“We anticipate the waste to come from Chatham and Effingham and Bulloch and Screven and Jenkins counties…those counties where we feel like we have the best shot of securing the waste,” said Vice President of Atlantic Waste Services, Inc. Ben Wall.
Wall says when it comes to concerns about groundwater contamination in the pristine farmland, their proposal includes a multilayer liner of clay and plastics. He adds that the economic benefits claims include tens of millions in revenue for the county and good-paying jobs.
“Our latest estimate of what we think, as far as jobs, is going to be close to 40 jobs, maybe 45,” Wall said. “The average job at the facility is gonna be about $35,000 a year.”
County leaders say they say before they can proceed with the application for the project they have to update their solid waste plan.
Meanwhile, some Screven County residents are concerned about the proposed landfill’s impact over decades.
“Thirty years of consequences, and living that close to it, is not good,” said Teresa Brinson, who lives about three miles away from the land.
“I can’t say I’m for it. I won’t say I’m against it,” Rocky Ford resident Frankie Manderville told News 3.
George Boyd says it’s economics that worries him — not the environment.
“It’s going to hurt a lot of the poor that’s living off of recycling,” Boyd said. “If you’re taking it to the landfill, we can’t get it. The stuff that people throw away; your garbage is someone else’s glory.”
Wall says the landfill would take up 84 acres on a 1,000 acre of land. The formal application is under a moratorium right now, imposed by county commissioners.
The next step in the process is a workshop to hammer out the details for a solid waste plan for Screven County — which has not been scheduled yet.
The moratorium on the application for the landfill is set to be lifted in October.