In the 1970s and early 1980s, the town of Greenville operated a landfill off Hwy. 221, and per the custom of the day, residents would take their household garbage and dump it at the site, leaving the entirety of the garbage to simply be covered with dirt.
Among property that was purchased in the late 1980s, the old landfill site was purchased by an individual and sat vacant until the early 1990s, when the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued regulations, requiring the site to be monitored for any potential leakage of hazardous materials into the environment.
The regulations required monitoring wells to be sunk around the site and twice a year, a contracted Environmental Consultant, Greg Bonn, would pull samples from the wells that were sent to a lab to be checked for toxins. Those results were then sent to DEP in Jacksonville. The total of 14 wells required to be placed around the landfill, along with the consultant used to pull samples, and the following laboratory reports, ended up costing the town of Greenville $20,000 to $25,000 every year. Also included in this cost was 10-year permits the town was obligated to purchase from DEP that allowed the town to do the monitoring.
In 2008, Mayor (at the time) Elesta Pritchett asked the legislature for help, which resulted in (then) Rep. Will Kendrick to obtain a grant for $115,000 that would completely pay for the wells to be monitored from 2009 through 2014 and covering the last five years of their current permit.
With the grant running out in 2014, this past summer, the town would again be liable for the cost of monitoring, and would be required to apply for a new 10-year permit. Bonn drafted a letter and sent it to DEP with the 2004-2014 lab reports stating in his report, “No volatile organic compounds were detected above action levels since 2004,” and requested the recommend monitoring requirements be removed.
On Aug. 5 of this year, DEP sent a letter to the town, stating they had reviewed the report and as a result were issuing a formal notification, releasing the town from future ground water monitoring requirements, subject to the town properly abandoning the monitoring wells in accordance with DEP and water management district regulations.
On Sept. 23 and 24, Bonn, along with a well driller, removed all well casings from the old landfill site and plugged the well sites. Bonn submitted a report to DEP, advising them they had abandoned the wells according to their requirements.
The town is waiting for the final “okay” from DEP, with anticipation being positive. As a result, abandonment of the wells removes a big burden from the town, along with great financial relief. “I’m extremely pleased we were able to do this,” said Acting Town Manager Jim Parrish. “The town will now be able to use the money, previously spent on the wells, addressing other issues that are extremely important to the citizens of Greenville.”