Note: For the purposes of full disclosure, GFL Environmental is a sponsor of Polk.Today. – KtE

The Polk County Commission spent years working to get some of the problems at the Grady Road Landfill resolved, and based on a Tuesday night vote, the issue is now put to bed as far as the courts are concerned.

Commissioners voted 3-2 for a final ordinance to resolve their court case over the landfill, brought about when Waste Industries was still a separate company and operating the Grady Road facility on Highway 278.

It came at the close of the meeting after Commissioners spent more than an hour in executive session discussing several items, and came out and voted on the disposition of the case three years after it was filed.

Commissioners Scotty Tillery and Gary Martin voted against the “final order regarding landfill litigation,” while Commissioners Linda Liles, Chuck Thaxton and Ray Carter voted to end the suit.

A two-page press release was provided late this afternoon from Polk County (at 4:51 p.m.) that discussed the reasons behind resolving the case outside of court instead of continuing the court battle that began in May 2018.

Among those is the $1,075,106.15 in back underpaid host fees and fuel surcharge fees the county felt it deserved, along with keeping a number of items in place that began with a injunction filed to stop certain activities at the landfill in the past.

Those include ensuring that soil cover remains in place on a daily basis with no permitted use of a tarp allowed again, buying leachate tanks to replace the ponds there, allowing no sludge of any kind, limiting tipping fees to $20 for seven years, and ensuring that horizontal instead of vertical growth of the landfill is promoted.

Attached below are the two pages:

GFL Environmental provided the following statement via a spokesperson on the resolution of the case:

“GFL remains committed to the landfill and its partnership with the county,” it read.

Waste Industries was purchased by GFL Environmental – a Canadian-based waste management firm – in the months following the filing of the suit and then went to court to determine whether an injunction on certain activities was allowed. That was in the process of litigation via the appellate court in Georgia when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Those included requiring a layer of soil be placed over trash on a daily basis instead of using tarp coverings, ensuring that trucks are being inspected and cleaned properly before they leave the landfill, mitigating the vulture population, refusing all sludge in the landfill and paying back money the county said it was due on fees for trucks coming into the facility from the metro Atlanta area and other localities.

The Grady Road Landfill is one of several regional facilities that take municipal solid waste, and the majority of the annual tonnage going into the facility comes from outside of Polk County. Agreements between original operators – ETC of Georgia, then purchased by Waste Industries who in turn was purchased in recent years by GFL Environmental – require that the county takes a percentage of the total tipping fees for each truck based on the tonnage brought in each load on an annual basis.

That totals up to millions of dollars of revenue gained for the County government’s coffers, put in a special landfill fund that has been utilized in a variety of ways over the years. Most recently, the funds are being used to partially fund the new P-25 radio communication system for public safety use, and has funded several projects over the years like the 911 center within the Polk County Public Safety facility, some of the cost of the runway extension project, and many others.

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