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David vs. Goliath in Hogansville

On nature

POSTED: November 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Evelyn Zarati is in trouble and she needs your help.
Mrs. Zarati is a mother of six who runs a small tortilla factory near Hogansville. She and a group of townspeople have been fighting a private landfill to be dug less than 1,000 feet from the city limits.
Hogansville already has a place for its trash. This proposed landfill will be for other people’s trash — household garbage, construction waste, hospital and restaurant rubbish.
Greenbow LLC, a Montgomery-based landfill developer, wants to build the “Turkey Creek Landfill” on 300 acres, the size of half the area covered by Stone Mountain. The dump will be 300 feet high and will accept 2,500-3,000 tons of unmonitored waste (including up to 60 tons of disposable diapers) six days a week — 16 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and eight hours on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest worry is contamination of groundwater. A landfill liner is only as thick as two credit cards, and the proposed site sits on Blue Creek, part of Hogansville’s  reservoir, which eventually flows to the Chattahoochee River.
“Who’s going to want to buy tortillas made with contaminated water?” asked Zarati, who lives in the house where she grew up 1.5 miles from the proposed site.
It wasn’t Zarati who called me about this atrocity. When the phone rang Sunday evening, a retired schoolteacher who will remain unnamed was on the line. Would I help?
“Landfill liners all leak,” she said. “That’s a fact. A landfill would ruin this little town. It’s going to poison the water.”
Not only that, said the retired schoolteacher. A regional landfill would pollute the air, with methane, toxic gases and other foul odors. It would clog the roads with large and noisy trucks. It would depress property values.
“This landfill is not going to bring prosperity,” she said.
Two points are especially disturbing. First, the landfill is sited in Meriwether County, so close to the county line that it would actually affect Troup County the most. Water there flows west. Hogansville, in Troup, is the closest municipality. So one county is poised to profit off poisoning another county.
Second, a bizarre list of names are connected with this project, as attorneys and consultants, and some of those have direct links to the EPD and DNR, including high-level service.
If you want to help, call the governor, representatives and any other official you can think of. Tell them not to trash Georgia. You can send tax-deductible donations to ECO-Action, P. O. Box 744, Luthersville, GA, 30251.

Ray is an environmental author and activist.
 

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