'Flow Control' law is one step closer to being tossed out with the trash

Horry County Council has moved one step closer towards changing a law that governs how construction and demolition waste is disposed of within county lines.

Currently, the county's Flow Control ordinance, enacted in 2009, allows residents and businesses to dump construction waste only at the county landfill.

The amended ordinance lets them take it to other counties' landfills.

Projects & Governmental Affairs Manager for the Solid Waste Authority Mike Bessent is against the amendment, because he says revenue will be lost based on trash tipping fees.

At a council workshop Monday, Bessent made a presentation to the council. He said an estimated 35,000 tons of construction and demolition debris would be lost annually, along with more than $900,000.

"A lot of money we make goes back into public programs that benefit the citizens, businesses in this county. And when the waste goes out of the county, then the residents don't see that benefit anymore," Bessent said.

Bessent said 10 public programs are now funded by the county's flow control ordinance, including emergency 9-1-1 telephone services, recycling, and hazardous waste programs.

However some council members said these cuts are speculative and based on assumptions.

Council Chairman Mark Lazarus is in favor of the change to the amendment.

He said the effects, like revenue loss, will not be as drastic because our economy has been improving.

"When they enacted flow control, we were in a recession. We are out of the recession and we are seeing a lot of building permits coming in and a lot of exciting things happening in Horry County," Lazarus said.

Lazarus said another benefit of not having all the construction and demolition waste is that it would extend the lifespan of the county landfill by about three years.

"They're telling us we only have 25 years left on our landfill. We really are never going to see another landfill in Horry County, so we need to start preserving as much space as we possible can for the future," Lazarus said.

At the meeting, council members passed the second reading by a vote of 6 to 5.

The ordinance amendment still needs a third reading to become law.

It'll be brought up again at the next meeting on Jan. 21.

Horry County is the only county in South Carolina that has a Flow Control ordinance regulating where both construction and municipal waste can be disposed.

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