During this year’s city budgeting process, Columbus Council is being asked to look deep into the future.
Mayor Skip Henderson has put $300,000 in the proposed $282.5 million budget currently under consideration by city leaders. That expenditure would not be fully realized until six decades from now.
The money is to hire a consultant — Atlantic Coastal Consultants — to work with the federal Environmental Protection Division to alter Pine Grove Landfill permit.
“It is going to be saving us money by delaying the need to identify millions of dollars in the early ’20s and move that cost out into the early ’30s,” said Columbus Public Works Director Pat Biegler. “It’s good short-term, but long-term it will take the life of our landfill out 25 more years – plus the 36 we have. So, we are talking about an impact that would really be significant.”
The additional space will be gained by redesigning and modifying the side slopes at Pine Grove. There are six cells in the 130-acre landfill. Four of those cells are currently in use. In the next five years, the city will have to begin work to cap those cells and open the remaining two for garbage.
Pine Grove opened in 1997. At that time the sidewalls had to be terraced. By filling in the terraces with garbage and creating slopes, the lifespan of the facility grows.
Deputy Public Works Director Kyle McGee was standing on one of the terraces Thursday when he explained the concept to News 3.
“From the top of this slope to the top of the landfill, this is all available airspace to put trash in,” he said.
As the Columbus council considers the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal budget, News 3 will look at certain aspects of it each week.