Lexington County tries to stop landfill change

tflach@thestate.comMarch 3, 2014 

Lexington County is trying to stop the expansion of a landfill that officials never wanted open.

County leaders are waging a legal battle to stop a landfill that grinds trees and vegetation into mulch from becoming a dumping ground for construction debris.

Their challenge in the Administrative Law Court is the latest tug-of-war with state environmental officials over the operation.

County officials say the switch allowed the landfill in the town of Lexington to ignore their waste management controls. Those standards require construction disposal sites to be located mainly in rural areas and at least 20 miles apart.

But a decision by state officials says those standards don’t apply to the in-town landfill, since it was open on an adjoining site before the county guidelines were adopted.

The landfill is nearly three miles west of I-20, sitting next to Lexington Pavilion shopping center.

Town officials thwarted a previous county effort to stop the landfill from opening by annexing it during a push to add retail development on U.S. 378.

The battle now is a struggle over how much say the county has over landfills inside its 14 municipalities rather than stopping the switch at one operation, County Council chairman Johnny Jeffcoat said.

“It’s about whether our plan applies to the entire county or not,” he said. “We need to know the role municipalities play.”

Town Hall leaves decisions on landfills up to state officials, with town leaders neutral on the proposed change in materials put there.

Owners of the Lexington landfill want to take in used bricks, boards and other nonhazardous items.

Doing that, they say, will fill it up so it can be redeveloped for stores and offices.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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