Some garbage fees to rise temporarily

Garbage disposal fees from local providers may go up temporarily as a result of the repair of Barnwell County’s transfer station and transportation issues while it is being repaired.

Barnwell County’s solid waste transfer station was scheduled for major repairs earlier this year before it was finally destroyed by a tornado in January, according to County Administrator Pickens Williams Jr. He said the station is expected to be closed from Oct. 23 through Dec. 24 while it is being rebuilt.

“Hopefully it won’t take that long, but we have a plan for it,” said Williams. “These dates may change due to unforeseen circumstances. If that occurs, it will be posted on the Barnwell County website at www.barnwellcountysc.us.”

During the temporary closure, arrangements have been made for Bamberg County’s transfer station to accept Barnwell County waste before it is then shipped to Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority for final disposal.

Williams told the Barnwell County Council recently that the county would be “paying Bamberg County a small fee” to use their transfer station. Additionally the county is anticipating some additional costs due to fuel, hauling expenses and overtime as a result of taking the garbage to Bamberg County.

Money for repairs to the transfer station had already been included as the county’s first “penny” Capital Sales Tax project but Williams said the tornado damage increased the expenses, some of which will be covered by insurance.

The temporary closure is also having an economic impact on local disposal companies.

Donnie Pender, owner of Pender Disposal, said the changeup is creating “a major expense” for his company which provides residential, commercial and industrial disposal services in Barnwell and surrounding counties. “Instead of our trucks in Barnwell County going 15 miles round-trip, we will have to go 50 miles round-trip” to accomplish the same task, said Pender.

As a result, commercial and household disposal customers will see a slight but temporary increase in their bills, said Pender.

Pender said he and the county administrator had contacted DHEC in hopes of keeping work at the Barnwell landfill but were not able to work anything out. “They (DHEC) are looking at it strictly from an environmental view but this also has an economic impact.”

Williams said DHEC “has worked well with us so far” on the problems created by the damaged transfer station “but they have guidelines they have to follow.” He said DHEC’s guidelines “are understandable.”

Pender said they were notifying customers to give them a heads-up of the temporary increase to be reflected in November and December bills.

Rob Carter, General Manager with Republic Services, a company which also provides local disposal services, said, “We are working with Barnwell County and are currently evaluating the impact on our operations.”

He did not comment on whether any extra fees would be charged to Republic customers.