HomeNewsTrash drop-off changes anger Aiken County residents

Trash drop-off changes anger Aiken County residents

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Residents of unincorporated Aiken County have taken to social media to express their unhappiness with changes set to take effect Jan. 10, 2022 at the convenience centers where they can drop off household trash, yard waste and bulky items.

In light of complaints, Aiken County Council members will revisit the approved changes in their January 18, 2022 regular meeting.

Council members in the Dec. 14 meeting unanimously approved a resolution cutting the days the centers are open and reducing hours from the current 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to a new closing time of 5 p.m. Residents said that will make it hard for working people to dispose of their garbage.

Residents are also angry at restrictions put in place at the centers in Belvedere, Graniteville and Langley. Yard waste and construction debris will no longer be accepted at those centers. Residents must instead take it to the Barden Landfill in Graniteville.

Staff photo

“No yard waste disposal will be a problem for me,” said Belvedere resident Robert Thatcher. “If you have to take it to the landfill, you are in for a shock. Lines, scales and mud. I am not happy at all.”

City Administrator Clay Killian said those three centers were chosen to restrict certain items because of their proximity to the Barden landfill.

“If citizens take it directly to the landfill, we will not have to pay our contractor to haul the yard waste to our landfill,” said Killian.

He said Aiken County residents will not be charged a tipping fee when they bring yard waste and construction and demolition debris to the landfill.

The new guidelines also said no trailers, no larger loads, or bulky items such as furniture and appliances can be disposed of at any of the 10 convenience centers the county operates. It also limits bags of household garbage to eight bags a day.

“The trailer restrictions are designed to limit the amount any one person can bring,” explained Killian. “We struggle with keeping commercial operations from trying to beat the system by coming to a drop-off center rather than going to the landfill. Trailers also tend to fill our boxes faster than we can empty them.”

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Ernie McFerrin, who also used the Belvedere center, supported that change.

“This will definitely discourage the folks who bring in truck loads that are acting as garbage collectors for the neighborhood,” he said, but added he was displeased citizens were not asked for suggestions.

“If this was voted on by members of the county council when was the time period for their gathering data from constituents? Or was it just a part of new business at a meeting and voted on the same day, which I doubt,” he said. “It’s being presented as a two-part cure to the abuse that everyone has seen and also as a cost cutting measure to cut the budget significantly, so in fact I dare say the council members read and it and voted to accept it as presented.”

The resolution cited a spike in the cost of solid waste disposal especially over the past year, driven in part by a significant number of people moving into the county. The new cost in 2022 is expected to be more than $800,000. It is estimated the changes will save the county $400,000 with the remainder covered by retained earnings.

Killian said the county plans two new residential convenience centers, which are currently in the design phase.

Dana Lynn McIntyre is a Staff Reporter with The Augusta Press. You can reach her at [email protected] 

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