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South River Gardens trash fight widens


Talk about a hollow victory. Even if the residents of South River Gardens in southeast Atlanta are successful in closing down neighboring Live Oak landfill, one of the largest in the state, their smelly days may not be behind them.

All State Waste, a Mass.-based garbage collection company wants to build a solid waste transfer station -- essentially, a warehouse to store trash temporarily before it's hauled away to distant landfills -- next to South River Gardens.

Such a holding facility would be necessary if Live Oak operators fail in appealing an order from the state to close down. An administrative trial begins March 27 that will determine if Live Oak will shut down.

South River Gardens, which includes about 500 homes, is already surrounded by landfills. Besides Live Oak, the neighborhood has to contend with two other landfills within a two-mile radius. But none has faced the neighbors' wrath more than Live Oak, which takes in more than 1.25 million tons of trash a year. Their battle with Live Oak was chronicled in the Feb. 28 edition of Creative Loafing.

Last July, the state declared that Live Oak's operators violated more than a dozen solid waste handling laws, and that Live Oak must shut down by Dec. 1, 2004. If that's the case, a transfer station such as the one All State Waste wants to build will be necessary, so the city of Atlanta has somewhere else to dump the 260,000 tons of trash it sends to Live Oak a year.

Solid waste companies are in a race to get a piece of the trash transfer business. Brown-Ferris Industries wants to build one near the intersection of Marietta Boulevard and Bankhead Highway, less than two miles west of the Georgia Tech campus.

City officials are telling the giddy trash companies to chill. The City Council on March 17 imposed a six-month moratorium on transfer stations.

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