A private businessman wants to create a one-stop site for trash disposal on Daufuskie Island, a move he said could save Beaufort County more than $400,000 in construction costs and $50,000 a year in operating expenses.
Bill Scott of Savannah-based Dolphin Management lives on the island and said he is working to purchase seven acres from the bankrupt Melrose development by July. Three of the acres currently serve as a trash transfer center, according to Leland McCormack, a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control official and Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling Board member.
Scott told the board Thursday he would pay all costs associated with transferring the existing permits, upgrading the site and operating it. He said the facility would handle household and commercial trash.
Scott said he wants the site to serve as the island's sole trash transfer center. He also said he plans to offer curbside service for those who want it.
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There are currently three trash disposal sites on the island.
"You just don't need three on an island that's five miles long and three miles wide with 400 people living on it," he said.
If successful, the plan could potentially free up funds in the Beaufort County Solid Waste Management department, and provide a "one island solution" for a place that is only accessible by boat, according to Laura Winholt, president of the Daufuskie Island Conservancy. The board said Thursday it would not make a recommendation on the proposal until Scott submits estimates for operational costs. Those estimates would ensure the proposed station meets county and state standards, and wouldn't cost the county extra money. Scott said he's hired Charleston-based Joyce Engineering to provide those estimates within 30 days.
"If it provides better service at a lower price, we'd certainly be interested," Jim Minor, director of solid waste and a member of the board, said. "It all hinges on the operations plans."
The county has plans to build a $400,000 center on the southern half of the island. Those plans have been stalled since 2009 when an island property owner filed a lawsuit contending the county didn't conduct community impact studies or follow proper planning procedures. The S.C. Supreme Court has yet to set a date to hear arguments in the case.
Minor said Thursday that Beaufort County Council would ultimately have to decide if Scott's transfer center could replace the earlier proposal.
Minor said the county anticipates spending $50,000 a year -- in addition to the $400,000 construction cost -- to run the new site if the high court allows construction.
"It makes so much more sense to go to an existing station that's equipped and ready to go than to build a new one from scratch," Scott said.