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Johnsonville residents concerned about proposed transfer station

August 11, 2018

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. – Residents of the Hickory Hill community in Johnsonville are concerned about a new Florence County transfer station that is proposed to be built in that area.

Johnsonville City Administrator Jim Smith said in July that the city is looking to close down its existing transfer station on Egg Farm Road and build a new one with the help of Florence County. The new transfer station will be located off of Diamond Branch Road, outside the city limits.

In July, Smith said the deal was that the city of Johnsonville would purchase three acres of land for the site of the new transfer station, and the county would build the facility that will be a place for residents to dispose of recyclables.

Members of the Hickory Hill community attended the August Johnsonville Council meeting last week and shared their concerns about the proposed transfer station. Smith said members of the community were concerned about potential noise, truck traffic and smell coming from the facility.

James Tanner Jr. said he has lived in the Hickory Hill community since 1969, and this is not the first time a transfer station, or something similar, was proposed for the area. He said a convenience site was proposed for Liberty Street years ago.

Tanner is against a transfer station being brought to the community, and his concerns are about the effects to property value, traffic that will go to and from the site, plus the smell and degree of toxicity.

Tanner said the proposed transfer station is supposed to be approximately 300 feet from the front door to his community.

“This is the wealth and welfare of this community what we are concerned (about),” Tanner said. “People have passed on, their children are living here, grandchildren. It’s an aging community and the like. So all we want to do is have a fair hearing and let them (the city and county) know that there are other sites they need to pursue.”

Approximately 10 residents and supporters of the Hickory Hill community have formed what is called the Hickory Hill Delegation. The group released the following statement Friday:

“We are hoping that the Johnsonville City Council reconsiders the proposed location for the transfer site. We are not against progress, but we hope they take our concerns to heart and reconsider.”

Members of the delegation plan to attend next month’s Florence County Council meeting to voice their concerns about the proposed transfer station.

Smith said in July that the three acres of land off of Diamond Branch Road will cost the city a little more than $20,000. He said city’s current transfer station on Egg Farm Road is outdated and not in the best condition.

The new transfer station proposed to be built by Florence County will be run by Waste Management. He said the site will be fenced and screened.

“Basically you will not be able to see it from the road except at the access road,” Smith said. “They’ll try to hide it so that you don’t even see it. People that are going to live in the vicinity I guess are concerned about it. And I understand their frustration.”

Smith said there is very little smell that comes from the transfer station, because most of the items there are rubber, plastics and other recyclables.

“It’s not necessarily household trash,” Smith said. “And any of that type trash is compacted right away. So it’s taken out of there fairly quickly. So it’s not like it stays there, if there’s any household trash. That’s handled differently than some of the other bins, where they have metals and plastics.”

The proposed transfer station is expected to be similar to one located in Coward. Smith said it will be a “drive-up-drop-it-in-the-bin-and-drive-away”-type of setup. There are several in Florence County, he said.

The Johnsonville City Council is taking the comments given by Hickory Hill residents at last week’s meeting into consideration, Smith said.

“At this point they’re just going to continue to move forward with the county as far as the process to see where it ends up,” Smith said.

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