Gov. Deal signs landfill “danger” bill

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Tuesday requiring landfill owners to notify local officials if toxic waste spills onto the ground or into the groundwater.

HB 1028, prompted by an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation, gives landfill companies 14 days to report to city and county officials any spill that’s “likely to pose a danger to human health.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Bill Werkheiser (R-Glenville) after the Broadhurst Environmental Landfill near Jesup leaked toxic coal ash into the groundwater. Wayne County residents didn’t learn about the spill until the AJC’s story in February. The spill appears to have been remediated.

Republic Services, the landfill operator, now wants to bring up to 10,000 tons daily of coal ash to the landfill. It is applying for a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a 25-acre rail yard alongside the landfill capable of handling nearly 4 millions tons annually of ash.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will decide perhaps by this summer whether Republic gets a permit to build the four-track rail yard.

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