Many residents unhappy with Fulton County Ga. landfill

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Boone Newspapers

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – All along Arnold Mill Road, any passerby will see very few occupied homes, many “For Sale” signs in front yards, and several other signs advertising commercial real estate property for sale.

On that same road, there is a closed shopping center with a “For Lease” sign in the front.

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“I moved to this area in 1989,” Mike Mihos, a resident of Woodstock said.

“There used to be a lot of homes on this road that were occupied, but they’re all empty now. It’s like a ghost town.”

The Chadwick Road Construction and Demolition Landfill located in North Fulton County, Ga., is also on Arnold Mill Road about 100 feet from the Cherokee County line.

It is presently owned by Waste Management, Inc. and is being touted as the “model” for the multi-million dollar C&D landfill proposed by Alabama River Partners, LLC in Lowndes County.

Several weeks ago, Kim Davis, the spokesperson for ARP, took several Lowndes citizens and members of the group Citizens for a Progressive Lowndes County on a tour of the Atlanta landfill.

Davis has referred to the Fulton County, Ga., landfill several times at different meetings as an example of “the kind of landfill that can successfully co-exist with a planned community.”

However, several of the residents who live in the Providence Lake subdivision near

the Chadwick landfill disagree.

“We bought this lot 11 years ago,” said Mary Jean White, who lives directly behind the landfill. “They keep changing their time frame on us. They would tell us that the landfill was going to be completed and covered over in two years or three years, and then they would expand the time frame one more time. The landfill just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

White said that there is constant noise and a “burning smell” that bothers her.

“I just don’t trust them,” she added. “They should have already finished it by now. As far as I’m concerned, the company broke its promise … it’s a horrible, huge thing over there.”

Cary Beck, White’s neighbor, said that although there have been some problems and inconveniences, the company has “gone out of its way” to solve them.

“The beeping of the trucks bothers me,” she said. “It can be really loud, but it doesn’t seem to bother my husband. The noise comes and goes.”

Beck said that there had been times when plastic bags had blown out into the neighborhood’s yards and had gotten caught in the trees, but once a call was made to the landfill company, the problem was taken care of immediately.

“They put up a huge fence, and they even sent some men over here to get the bags out of the trees,” Beck said.

“One time, there was an odor, maybe from fermenting grass, but we called about it, and they had that problem fixed by the end of the day,” she added.

Beck also said that the landfill company had planted pine trees as a buffer between the homes and the landfill, but pine beetles had infested many of the trees and killed them.

“They came in and planted several magnolia trees for us,” she said. “Of course, during the winter when all of the leaves are gone, you can see th top of this big mountain of dirt.”

Laurie Marchuk, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years, said, “We moved here knowing the landfill was here. Of course, we thought it was

good thing because once they finish, nothing can go back there for 20 or 30 years, but they keep moving that completion date back,” Marchuk said.

“This is a very hilly area, so you can really see the landfill and open trash in the winter,” she added. “My kids and several of us in the neighborhood have nicknamed it ‘Trash Mountain.'”

Marchuk said that the smell from the landfill can get “really bad” outside and that it even gets inside her house.

“It’s a nasty, pungent smell,” she added. “I have air fresheners everywhere in my house.”

Marchuk also said that at the Providence Lake clubhouse, which has a pool and tennis courts, she and her friends will find “black soot” on their clothes sometimes after being on the court.

“And, we do see buzzards flying around from time to time,” she said. “Every now and then, you will hear a loud siren go off where someone in the neighborhood is trying to scare them away. You can’t kill them or anything, but the noise keeps the buzzards from roosting in the trees.”

“We just laugh and say that they are the neighborhood mascots.”