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ACC's landfill needs to expand sooner than planned

acc landfill.png

Athens-Clarke County’s landfill is filling up a little faster than planned. That was the message to ACC Commissioners from Solid Waste Director Suki Janssen.

"We're here because we are going to need to expand our landfill - just into cells that we had already projected," Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Director Suki Janssen told commissioners on Tuesday. "We're just a little bit earlier than we thought we were going to be."

There are a number of reasons why the landfill needs to start it’s planned expansion earlier than predicted. One reason – the county’s recycling facility is aging and falling apart.

"The average age of a recycling facility is 15 years," Janssen said. "We're nearly 30 years old, y'all, and everything this year that could break has broken."

Another thing that has been filling the landfill earlier than expected is the COVID-19 pandemic. As people stayed home more, they began cleaning - and cleaning out - more.

"During COVID, people started cleaning parts of their house that - I'm not sure they knew how much trash they had in in their homes," Janssen said. "It got extremely interesting at the landfill for us in COVID and then that trend just continued. So over the last couple of years, we've seen about a 12% increase in incoming tonnage."

Commissioners are expected to see a detailed summary of costs and a timeline in the coming months.

Martin Matheny is WUGA's Program Director and a host and producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters.' He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on WUGA and GPB Classical. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.