There's no such thing as a free lunch, and come this Fall, there won't be such a thing as free trash either.
McDuffie County Commissioners voted 3-2 during their Oct. 5 meeting to cancel the fall Trash Amnesty Day normally scheduled for late October. The vote came at the request of Solid Waste Director Don Clauson who initiated the trash holiday in1997.
The transfer station is handling an average of 150 tons of trash per day. Mr. Clauson told Commissioners that amount is nearly three times the design capacity of the station.
"Right now with the amount of waste we're getting in, it's too much to work in another couple hundred tons," Mr. Clauson said.
The extra waste from the Spring Trash Amnesty Day prior to Masters Week caused workers to fall behind. The event brought in 254 tons of trash, four times the average Saturday load. Some of that - brought in at no charge - is still at the transfer station.
"Because of the amount of waste that we have been receiving on a daily basis, we are now about two 40 yard container loads from getting the last trash amnesty (in March) picked up and shipped out," Mr. Clauson's memo to commissioners stated.
Also at the root of the problem is the cost that the county incurs on the free trash drop-off days. Mr. Clauson estimated that each of the events costs more than $6,000 which the county has to absorb.
Several commissioners didn't mind the extra cost if it meant the county roads and residents' yards would be a little cleaner. Commissioner Darrell Wester suggested more Trash Amnesty Days in the future to keep people from hoarding trash until they didn't have to pay to dump it.
Improvements to the transfer station and the number of shipments leaving the station are in the works. Mr. Clauson is looking at other solutions that would help his crew catch up to the amount of trash currently being brought in.
Once those are completed, possibly in late winter, Commissioners and Mr. Clauson expect to be ready for two Trash Amnesty Days in 2006.
The tentative date for the Spring Trash Amnesty Day is March 25.
The debate about canceling the Fall event split the voting members of the commission. After a 45-minute debate, Commissioners Wester and Bob Farr voted in favor of canceling the event while Fred Favors and Sammie Wilson voted against cancellation. Chairman Charlie Newton broke the tie with an affirmative vote.