Tag Archives: well-being

Ways to fix the trash problem

I commend Commissioner John Page for his op-ed in the VDT today, attempting to do what no other Commissioner has tried: to explain the trash issue. Indeed, like him, most of the people I talked to while campaigning for Gretchen were for keeping the waste collection centers open, and of those the vast majority were willing to pay more, which is the main reason the previous Commission made a big mistake in closing those centers. Unfortunately his letter seems to indicate nothing can be done. Well, here are some things that can be done.

Let the contract lapse.

Commissioner Joyce Evans insisted on the contract with the sole provider being only for one year. Let it lapse after that year!

Publish the contract.

What’s in the contract? How do we even know it’s for only one year? The new Commission already had to do over a decision of the previous Commission (remove license fee from Sunday alcohol sales) because the ordinance written up afterwards wasn’t what they thought they passed. Publish the contract and let everyone see!

Publish an accounting for the waste collection sites.

Commissioner Page wrote:
The county was losing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year because the fees for the permits were not bringing in enough money to fully fund the sites.
How do we know that? Continue reading

No choice on trash —”representatives from Lowndes County”

The VDT went deep under the Lowndes County government’s anonymous cover for an interview with “representatives” who confirmed that unincorporated residents have no choice for trash collection other than the monopoly the Commission granted to a company from New York City.

Jason Schaefer wrote on the front page of the VDT today, County trash ordinance goes into effect Friday: VDT has Q&A with county leadership about new law, burning,

VDT: Lowndes County has said residents aren’t required to sign a service contract with Advanced Disposal. What other services are there in the area, and do they include Deep South Sanitation in Valdosta?

LC: “According to the solid waste ordinance, Advanced Disposal will be the only residential hauler licensed to serve unincorporated Lowndes County. There’s been some confusion about trash collection service in the city. This ordinance is just for unincorporated Lowndes County, not for any of the cities.”

Maybe these were the same “representatives” who sent an unsigned letter saying there were 5,000 residents of unincorporated parts of Lowndes County who didn’t already have curbside service, and they have one choice now: the one-and-only county-appointed purveyor of waste bins. What could possibly go wrong?

Continue reading

Get a job —Lowndes County to waste site workers

Continuing to ignore its responsibilities to protect public health, safety, and well-being, the Lowndes County government proceeded with its plan to trash rural residents’ waste collection sites, and told part time workers there to get a job.

Jason Schaefer wrote for the VDT today, Trash centers dumped: Final week to make trips to county recycling centers,

The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners near the end of 2012 voted to approve a contract with Advanced Disposal to serve as the sole waste company to conduct curbside trash pick-up in unincorporated Lowndes County. Some citizens remain critical of the change in service, which will cost $12.80 per month, and many are trying to get their last loads to the collection/recycling centers before they close….

Full-time employees at the recycling stations, which are already employees of Public Works, said County Clerk Paige Dukes, will be moved to different positions within the department. Part-time employees will need to find new jobs.

Why might citizens be critical? Continue reading

How to implement trash, health, and safety?

Disposal of solid waste (trash/garbage) is a matter of community public health and safety and providing such service is the responsibilty of the local governing bodies. How should trash health and safety responsibly be implemented?

We cannot be left in a situation where residents are either “forced to buy” service from a provider, or have no option but to burn their trash. The government can levy a tax, but they cannot say that residents are forbidden to buy a service from an independent provider.

Such a ruling is

  • unfriendly to those who currently own, or want to start a waste collection business in our county,
  • unfriendly to the residents who are counting on the government to follow the state-legislated goals to
    “protect the health safety, and well-being of its citizens and to protect and enhance the quality of its environment” ,
  • unfriendly to the environment as trash ends up on the side of the road or polluting the air by being burned and leaves us to face a new problem on a different day.

Residents in the unincorporated areas of the county who want curb side collection, for the most part, already purchase it. Those of us using the collection centers do so because it is our preference.

The county should (in my opinion) create a special tax district for waste disposal (it already makes special lighting districts) and tax the residents for the maintenance of the collection centers.


Who implements trash, health, and safety?

As we’ve seen, solid waste is a matter of public health, safety, well-being, and the environment, according to Georgia state law. Whose responsibility is it to protect the environment and the public health, safety, and well-being from solid waste?

Many health and safety issues are handled through the health department, Diagram of the waste hierarchy including the Georgia Department of Public Health, and the South Health District (Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift and Turner Counties). Particularly, water quality (septic tanks, well water), food safety, cleanliness of hotels, motels, restaurants, swimming pools and so on are the responsibility of the local health department, such as the Lowndes County Health Department.

However, disposal of solid waste (trash/garbage) is handled by the local municipality or governmental body (county).

The EPA has a variety of documents available about solid waste.

So does the state EPD, as enabled through Georgia Legislation: Existing Rules and Corresponding Laws.

So, where does this leave us? See next post.


Trash, health, and safety

Solid waste is a health and safety issue, according to Georgia law.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources copy of the GEORGIA COMPREHENSIVE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT ACT OF 1990 AS AMENDED THROUGH 2004,

O.C.G.A. § 12-8-21. Declaration of policy; legislative intent

a) It is declared to be the policy of the State of Georgia, in furtherance of its responsibility to protect the public health, safety, and well-being of its citizens and to protect and enhance the quality of its environment, to institute and maintain a comprehensive state-wide program for solid waste management and to prevent and abate litter, so as to assure that solid waste does not adversely affect the health, safety, and well-being of the public and that solid waste facilities, whether publicly or privately owned, do not degrade the quality of the environment by reason of their location, design, method of operation, or other means and which, to the extent feasible and practical, makes maximum utilization of the resources contained in solid waste.

Emphasis added on the parts about health, safety, well-being, and the environment. Those are the goals of this legislation, stated twice in the first paragraph. Georgia being a home rule state, the implementation of these goals is now left to the local governing bodies. More on that next.