ADEM hands County $27k fine

Published 9:55 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Crenshaw County Commission held a special-called meeting on Monday to address $27,500 in fines that have been handed down from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

The fines specifically relate to the county landfill.

In a letter sent to the Commission, ADEM outlined the violations that were found.

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Along with single violations for exceeding a working slope of 4:1, failure to properly close completed areas, failure to control litter and accepting waste not stipulated on permit, the landfill also had two violations each for failure to cover waste weekly and failure to submit gas reports.

However, the largest problem was a failure to maintain sedimentation control structures.

ADEM codes requires on-site drainage structures to carry run-off from the site to minimize leachate, erosion and sedimentation.

The inspection determined that run-off was not being routed to the settling basin.
County Solid Waste Disposal Officer Johnny Hollis and county engineer Benjie Sanders were present at the meeting and helped the Commission discuss a plan to fix the problems.

One of the biggest problems voiced by Hollis was the lack of equipment.

“In my opinion, and in the opinion of everyone, it’s been done as well as we could do it,” Hollis said. “We’ve got a front-end loader, and that’s all we’ve got.”

Several pieces of equipment will be needed to fix the drainage problem, but nearly all of that equipment is being used to work on roads around the county.

“When we started having trouble with dirt roads, we told him [Sanders] not to pull off to fix anything except dirt roads,” Commissioner Charlie Sankey said.

Sanders said that work was done on the drainage pond from Oct. 12, 2009 to Nov. 16, 2009 before heavy rains forced them to halt.

One possible solution the commission proposed was putting the landfill back under the direction of the county engineer, as was the case a decade ago.

“It’s going to require a certain amount of maintenance to fix the problem, and Benjie will have to help out because we just don’t have the resources,” said Commissioner Merrill Sport. “We’ve got to have his scheduling to get some equipment up there.”

While the landfill would keep its three full-time employees, a plan would have to be worked out to split duties between Sanders and Hollis.

Sanders said that with an increase in duties, he’d like to renegotiate his contract, which must be mutually agreed upon.

“I’m not going to ask for any increase in salary, but what I would like the commission to consider is to negotiate an extension that would run for five years,” Sanders said.
While those negotiations are being made, the county has requested a meeting with ADEM to discuss the fines.

Sanders said that another county engineer acquaintance faced a similar situation, but by addressing the issues before the meeting, the fine was reduced.

The commission gave Sanders permission to prepare a tentative agenda to present to ADEM, focusing on the following points: 1) Change of personnel and management 2) Change of equipment, including a plan to bring more equipment to the site and 3) Change operations.

A date for the meeting between the commission and ADEM has not yet been set.