FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — After residents expressed dissatisfaction with the potential expansion at Eagle Point Landfill in northwest Forsyth County, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners are looking closer at the issue.
At a Sept. 12 meeting, the board discussed conducting an environmental assessment of the landfill, with reference to the proposed expansion and methane facility operated by Clean Eagle RNG, LLC.
Going forward, the county will work with Atlantic Coast Consulting to determine rates for a potential environmental engineer to serve as a consultant, and an environmental attorney will be retained.
Earlier this year, Clean Eagle requested a rezoning of 10 acres for a proposed recycling plant totaling more than 15,000 square feet and five parking spaces.
In a letter to nearby residents, Clean Eagle attorney Christopher Light wrote the purpose of the recycling facility would be to collect the “existing methane gas emitted from the adjacent landfill and refine it to produce a usable natural gas for consumer use.”
County Attorney Ken Jarrard said many of the constituents who live nearby the landfill are concerned about the expansion and recommended an environmental assessment.
The expansion of the private landfill is permitted by the state, Jarrard said, not the county, and the state does environmental reviews of these permits. However, he said the public asked specifically for the county to do its own assessment.
Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, whose district the landfill falls within, said she’s heard from the public that they want an unbiased assessment and don’t necessarily trust findings from other sources.
Vice President for Environmental/Geotechnical Services for Atlantic Coast Consulting Chris Klamke has worked with the county for years on a host of environmental issues and spoke to the board on his experience with similar situations.
He said they could petition the Environmental Protection Division to do the testing and then send it off to separate labs so it could be as unbiased as possible, however he hasn’t seen that done in a long time.
“An environmental assessment on similar properties in this circumstance is difficult,” Klamke said. “The Environmental Protection Division cites criteria and goes through the permitting process to decide if they can legally issue a permit for the facility.”
An independent assessment doesn’t necessarily fit into that process, he said, because it would be difficult to get sampling since it’s not a municipal landfill.
“It’s a little unusual in this circumstance,” Klamke said. “It’s not unusual for the public to be concerned about a landfill growing in their area. They want to be educated about how the process works. We see this a lot, but I don’t know if an environmental assessment changes directions of the permit moving forward.”
He said from what his company has seen of Eagle Point’s history, they’ve been in compliance with the regulations they have to obey. Whenever they had any issues, they immediately addressed it, Klamke said.
He said methane monitoring is required by the landfills, along with emissions monitoring, and that data goes to the state and are available for public review.