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Newton County faces $4,000 in fines for EPD violation
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Newton County has to pay a $4,000 fine and meet a list of conditions detailed in a consent order by the Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division (EPD).

Interim County Attorney Megan Martin detailed the consent order to the Board of Commissioners (BOC) during Tuesday’s meeting. The fine and consent order form the EPD came after several violations at the Newton County landfill were reported.

The conditions in the consent order required by the EPD are:

- For a certified landfill operator be on site during operating hours.

- The facility shall cease releasing contaminated wastewater from sediment basin No. 1 of the landfill.

- The county shall excavate contaminated soil in sediment basin No. 2, and restore the basin to approved grades or install a liner system.

- To install temporary groundwater monitoring wells downgrade from basins No. 1 and No. 2, along with a temporary storage pond.

- Submit updated Financial Assurance documentation to the EPD by April 1, addressing deficiencies listed in letter sent to the county Jan. 21.

- Submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) by April 1, which includes a schedule to return the landfill to compliance.

The EPD issued this consent order after several violations, including several seen during an Aug. 25 on-site inspection.

Leachate discharges, spills, or releases were then reported having occurred at the landfill on Oct. 16, Nov. 23, Dec. 27 and during a period between Dec. 23 and 31.

“There is no question about the violations,” Lloyd Kerr, Interim Newton County Manager said. “We did admit to those. Those were valid violations. We have worked diligently to correct those.

“We are moving in the right direction and we continue to do so.”

While the county has already started working on the CAP, Kerr said part of it will take a few months to complete.
Harbin Engineering has drafted a CAP to submit to the county, and Martin said her office is prepared to submit it to the EPD.

The EPD has spoken to Kerr and Newton County Chair Keith Ellis, saying that the county is making positive progress.”

“The EPD has made several onsite visits since the spills, and they have been pleased with the progress we’re making,” Kerr said. “We report daily to the EPD on our activities.”