In a 10-1 vote, Beaufort County Council members voted to spend $850,000 on 42 acres in Okatie that could eventually be used for a solid waste transfer and recycling station. Waste transfer and recycling stations are facilities where municipal solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is compacted into larger long-distance transport vehicles for shipment to landfills. When developed properly, these facilities can be seamlessly integrated into various urban and rural settings and become indistinguishable as a waste processing facility.
There are also strong benefits to the land’s location. It has close accessibility to both the Northern and Southern regions of the county which will cut down on transportation costs. Additionally, its close proximity to the existing Beaufort Jasper Water Sewer Authority’s waste treatment plant supports the clustering of these types of public infrastructure improvements thereby impacting a minimal amount of surrounding property owners.
Currently, Beaufort County has its waste shipped to the Hickory Hill Landfill in Jasper County. However, experts say Hickory Hill could reach its capacity in anywhere from 6 to 13 years. State law prohibits a new landfill facility within a 75 mile radius to an existing facility and the permitting of a transfer station can take upwards of three to five years. Therefore, once Hickory Hill has reached its capacity, Beaufort County will have limited options on where to dispose of waste if a transfer and recycling station is not created. As a result, County Council members have identified the development of this facility as a top priority.