Sunday, January 24, 2016

Oconee County Commissioners To Hold Public Hearing On Tuesday On Updated Solid Waste Management Ordinance

Two Ordinances Combined

The Oconee County Board of Commissioners Tuesday will give second reading to and hold a public hearing on a new Solid Waste Management Ordinance that combines two existing ordinances to regulate the disposal of litter and license the collection of residential and commercial waste in the county.

It will be the first time citizens have a chance to comment on the completed ordinance, since County Attorney Daniel Haygood made changes in the document after the Commission gave first reading to the ordinance on Jan. 5.

The county’s Keep Oconee County Beautiful Commission drafted the proposed changes to the county’s existing Solid Waste Management Ordinance

Haygood told the Commission on Jan. 5 that he combined that document with the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Services Ordinance to create the single document before the Board on Tuesday.

He said at that first reading that he expected to make additional changes in the document under review that evening based on feedback from county staff.

Terms Of Ordinance

The ordinance states that no solid waste may be brought into the county, and solid waste can be disposed of only at a facility permitted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

County Collection Facility
South Of Watkinsville

No such facilities exist in the county at present, though the county has applied for a permit for its inert landfill in the south of the county off U.S. 441.

The ordinance also makes it illegal to drive or operate a vehicle in the county hauling wet or moist solid waste that “leaks, flows freely or spills from such vehicle.”

The final ordinance states that property owners cannot allow litter or waste to accumulate on their premises.

It also prohibits throwing “any solid waste, including, without limitation, glass bottles, glass, nails, tacks, wire, caps, rubbish, litter, garbage, trash or other material” on roadway right of ways.

Haygood’s Warning

County Attorney told the Commission that the old waste management ordinance contained some provisions he had not been aware of before doing the revision.

Both the new and old ordinances state that persons using a commercial service for refuge collection cannot place the garbage at the street before dusk on the day before collection.

And those who use containers that are emptied by commercial services must return the containers “on the day of collection” to a location “nearer to the residential unit” than the street.

Haygood, in the clip below, said he probably violated that requirement himself in the past, causing some joking by Oconee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis and county Administrative Officer Jeff Benko.

OCO: Won't Happen Again from Lee Becker on Vimeo


The ordinance states that any person violating any portion of the ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of from $100 to $1,000, imprisonment for 60 days, or both.

The ordinance also allows the court to require someone who tosses litter on the roadway “to pick up and remove from any public street or highway or public right-of-way for a distance not to exceed one mile any litter the person has deposited and any and all litter deposited thereon by anyone else prior to the date of execution of sentence.”

The ordinance also states that the court can “publish the names of persons” convicted.

And it can make violators who create an “improper garbage or waste disposal site” clean up the property to bring it “into full compliance” with the ordinance.

History of Ordinances

The current Solid Waste Management ordinance was adopted by the Board of Commissioners on Jan. 4, 1994, and has not been updated since.

The Solid Waste Collection and Disposal Services Ordinance was last amended in 2000.

The version of the ordinance the Commissioners will vote on was put on the county web site on Friday.

The Commission meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Courthouse in Watkinsville.

The second reading and hearing on the Solid Waste Management ordinance is the 12th item on a 16-item agenda.


The full video of Haygood’s presentation to the Commissioners on Jan. 5 is below.

It contains Haygood's review of relevant changes in the ordinance as well as his comment about his violating the existing ordinance.

OCO: Solid Waste Ordinance from Lee Becker on Vimeo.

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