A group of private investors, Brantley County Development Partners, LLC is trying to build a solid waste handling facility near the Satilla River in Brantley County. The proposed 463-acre site is covered in wetlands, and the surrounding areas are prone to flooding. The proposed site backs up to a residential neighborhood and sits between two elementary schools.
The proposed project risks contaminating groundwater, as the groundwater table is only one foot below the ground surface in some places. Other risks include surface water contamination from runoff from the site and increased flooding of surrounding properties. There has been extraordinary opposition to this proposed landfill from local residents and Satilla River enthusiasts from around the state.
The Brantley County Development Partners, LLC applied for a solid waste handling permit in 2016. In December 2019, the Environmental Protect Division (EPD) released Draft Site Limitations for public review and comment. The draft was inconsistent with local limitations set forth in Brantley County’s Solid Waste Management Plan, and EPD and the applicant failed to accurately account for private drinking water wells that surround the proposed site.
Satilla Riverkeeper and a local grassroots group, “Don’t Trash Brantley,” helped empower local citizens to voice their concerns and provide additional information to EPD. Over 9,500 public comments were submitted to EPD on the Draft Site Limitations. Despite all of this, EPD finalized the site limitations without adequately addressing the public’s concerns in a Site Suitability Notice on May 28, 2020.
This year, Senator William Ligon (White Oak) introduced a bill that would prevent any new landfills within 3 miles of blackwater rivers entirely within the coastal plain of Georgia. Residents from Brantley County and concerned voices from across the state spoke up loudly and passionately in support of this bill. Thousands of emails and phone calls reached representatives, and it seemed the only opposition to the bill was from the investors endeavoring to build the landfill in Brantley County. The bill passed the Senate, but got stuck in the Rules Committee in the final day of the legislative session in July.
The fight is not over yet, and there is still opportunity to prevent this poorly sited proposal, and Satilla Riverkeeper is continuing to address the issue from every possible angle.
Additional information and opportunities to take action: https://www.satillariverkeeper.org/brantley-landfill.html