Wake County

Solid Waste Management Division

Summer 2020
Next Meeting
South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee

The South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee meets every six months, in March and September. The meeting scheduled for March 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.  The next meeting is planned for September at a day and time to be determined, subject to further consideration of COVID-19 related concerns.  

Meetings are held at the field office at South Wake Waste Management Facilities, 6025 Old Smithfield Rd, Apex, NC 27539

The South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee was established in 2006 with the purpose of providing:
  • A forum for neighbors of the landfill to have a voice in its continuing development
  • A conduit for information between landfill staff and the neighboring community regarding activities at the landfill
NOTE: Citizen Committee meetings are for committee members, they are not public meetings. Please  contact us  ahead of time i f you are interested in becoming a member or would like to attend the next meeting.
Traffic Statistics
Number of Garbage Trucks

Avg Trucks/

The above table shows the average number of trucks per day and the total number of trucks per month tipping waste at the South Wake Landfill, over a six month period, from January through June 2020. 

The landfill is open Monday through Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. To request more information about truck statistics and tonnages, please contact us
Changes to Convenience Centers
During COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, signage has been posted at all eleven Wake County Convenience Centers reminding Wake County residents to maintain 6 feet of distance from others while disposing of items.  

In addition, the Convenience Center program operator (GFL) has provided site attendants with additional Personal Protective Equipment, including gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer on a daily basis.  

The most noticeable changes at Convenience Centers between 2019 and 2020 is the increase in tonnages for household trash and household construction and demolition debris. These increases in tonnages are considered to be a result of more people working and  staying  at home. See the tables below to see actual waste tonnages compared with the previous year. 

Month 2019 2020 % Change
3,023 3,321
April  3,009 3,748 25%+
May 3,193 4,364 37%+
June 3,591 4,427 23%+
Increase in tonnages of household trash 

%  Change
1,360 10%+
April 1,516 1,510 0%
May 1,420 1,582 11%+
June 1,391 1,834 32%+
Increase in tonnages of household construction and demolition debris 
Future of Landfill Tours
In an age of social distancing

Residents touring the South Wake Landfill 
The Wake County Solid Waste Management Division has been providing tours of Wake County landfills for over fifteen years. What started as private requests from local colleges to study the design of landfills has evolved into monthly public tours for residents to learn what happens to their garbage once it leaves the curb, and how to reduce household waste and conserve finite landfill space. 

As part of the tour experience, staff transport attendees around the 750+ acre South Wake Solid Waste Management Facilities in a 40-passenger bus, with eight stops along the 60-minute tour. However, d ue to the confined space of a bus, and the duration of time participants spend on the tour we have decided to postpone public landfill tours. 

We are currently developing a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for public landfill tours. The plan will include numerous measures such as;
  • Reduced seating capacity on tour bus
  • Empty rows to allow social distancing between household groups
  • Mask requirements
  • Provision of hand sanitizer upon boarding bus etc...

Landfill tours are expected to resume in the fall. Check back on our website for updates: www.wakegov.com/landfilltours 

Wake  County  Backyard Composter  Program
Sets New Record

To say this year has been anything but ordinary is an understatement, and the same can be said for Wake County's annual discounted compost bin sale.  In 2019, Wake County helped 670 residents start composting and in 2020, that number jumped up by 148% to 1,660.

See the table below to show increase in composters sold since the
program began. 

Year Composters Change %
2019 670
2018 460
2017 400
2016 275 NA
The County has been pleased to see an annual increase in residents composting since the backyard composting program first launched in 2016. With so many residents at home this spring and summer with more time to spend in their yards, more residents are learning to compost now than ever before. 

With each composter  diverting  on average 650 lbs. of organic waste from landfill each year, a record-breaking year for composting is an increase in the curve we are happy to report. 

Access to affordable composters is not all Wake County is doing to help residents compost, with three environmental educators on staff, new videos on composting, and educational materials to download, Wake County Solid Waste staff also provide residents with the support they need to learn how to backyard compost successfully. 

For guidance on composting and information on the County's Backyard Composting Program, including how to sign-up for the next composter  s ale follow this link:  www.wakegov.com/compost 
Have Questions?

We strive to keep residents well informed on activities taking place at the landfill and welcome all feedback. If you would like more information, have questions or concerns do not hesitate to contact us. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you and you would like to sign-up to receive the newsletter  click here.
Telephone : 919.856.6424
Address:  Wake County, Solid Waste Management Division, P.O. Box 550, Raleigh, NC 27602
Director: John W. Roberson,  PE 
Stay Connected
Like Us on Facebook

Wake County Solid Waste Management Division is on Facebook sharing information on waste reduction, reuse, recycling and waste disposal services in Wake County.
To stay up-to-date on the latest news and events connect with us on  Facebook .
Bio-Catalyst Odor Neutralizer
Pilot Program Update

Bio-Organic Catalyst (BOC) an odor neutralizing enzyme was first brought to the Solid Waste Management Division's attention in February 2020, by Mayor Sears from  the  Town of Holly Springs. The local sales representative for BOC is a Holly Springs native. Together with GFL Environmental (the landfill operator) and Wake County  it was agreed to try the product's effectiveness on a trial basis. 

During the month of March Wake County sought out local residents of nearby neighborhoods to assist with providing their experience with malodors from the South Wake Landfill during the pilot program.  After purchasing and applying the product directly to the working face for the month of April, it was recommended by BOC staff that the product should be applied to the balance of the landfill, that is not under final closure.

This required additional equipment to be ordered. After GFL Environmental began applying the product weekly across the 40+ acre site, BOC staff approached GFL Environmental and Wake County to increase the frequency of the site wide application to twice per week.  To ensure the pilot program remained on track Wake County hired an alternate contractor solely responsible for applying the product through the remainder of the pilot program.

The new spray regimen started on July 2nd and is scheduled to continue through August 31st.  GFL Environmental and Wake County will continue to closely monitor the product's effectiveness and volunteers chosen to test the product in the surrounding neighborhoods are asked to continue to provide feedback through their assigned point of contact.  
Landfill Odor Report Update 
New Odor Report Form Results

Landfill odor mitigation with close proximity to residences continues to be a tough issue to minimize.  For every forward step made there seems to be a corresponding side or reverse step. However, we  endeavor to create odor mitigation plans that are successful and we will keep trying. We  have a plan that we believe will take more forward steps than previously made. 

The Rusmar Foam pilot project this past winter was one of the backwards steps. As much as we wanted that approach to work, the odor-fighting elements of the nightly foam cover were just not enough. We are now trying a Bio-Organic Catalyst addition to the landfill on a daily basis - a pilot project that will last at least until the end of August and is being supported by the Town of Holly Springs.  See above article for more details regarding the Bio-Organic Catalyst pilot project.
Further, GFL Environmental is moving the site to a nightly dirt/soil cover operation. This has been done for temporary periods in the past with some reasonable results but converting to a fully dirt/soil cover operation each night is requiring the acquisition of several additional large pieces of equipment that has taken time, especially during this COVID-19 period. As of the end of July, if not a week or so earlier, the transition to dirt/soil cover each night should be in place. The current methodology of nightly cover has been a combination of posi-shell, industrial tarps and dirt/soil. Ultimately posi-shell, which has been a mainstay for nightly cover for many years, continues to demonstrate inadequate odor protection, hence our anticipated elimination of that cover material in the near future. Industrial tarps will remain as a necessary process, especially during extreme rain events near closure time.

There are other issues involved in minimizing off-site odors; hence, an Odor Management Plan is under development. The plan has been drafted and is undergoing various reviews and updating. That plan will be presented to the County's Board of Commissioners at an upcoming Work Session scheduled in September. That timing will allow some updating of the success of the Bio-Organic Catalyst pilot project and the start of some data collection regarding the primary use of soil/dirt cover. The plan will also document further steps to be considered if the above strategies are not as successful as desired. Do note that the plan addresses a variety of odor sources including the working face of the landfill, the landfill gas collection and control system and several other potential sources of odors at a typical landfill.

Note that the vapor-based odor mitigation system that has been in place for a couple of years and had operational issues for much of the first year of so, is still in operation and has been much more consistent in its operation for the last 12 months. 
Implementation of Envirosuite's odor reporting tool has now been in place since early March. Besides allowing GFL Environmental and the County to adjust on-site mitigation approaches due to predicted weather patterns, it also allows the production of graphical reports as shown below (note the blue shading represents the landfill):

March 2020 Odor Reports

April 2020 Odor Reports

It was recently determined that the Envirosuite data was duplicating some odor reporting during May and June, so those months are still under review.  Further, we are working with Envirosuite to make the backtrack model automatically available to each person that submits an odor report after it has been validated. A backtrack model takes the location/day/time of an odor report and provides a 95-percentile path (shaded in purple in the example below) of where the odor most likely originated from based upon the internet connected weather station on the landfill property. Below are examples of a validated odor report and a most likely invalid odor report (note that in overall terms, approximately 83% of reports made are considered valid):

Validated landfill odor reports

Most likely invalid landfill odor reports

More frequent communication has been described as a desire by the community and this is another item under consideration by GFL Environmental and the County. More to come on this item soon.
Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan

Wake County and the municipal partners have been operating under the Solid Waste Management Plan that was developed in 2012. In 2014, NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) eliminated the need to update the plan every few years. However, Wake County determined regardless of DEQ requirements, an updated plan was needed.

Many of the factors influencing solid waste management have changed since the County's Plan was prepared eight years ago. To address these changes and maintain a cost effective, sustainable and environmentally responsible solid waste management system for the next 20 years, Wake County has collaborated with its 12 municipal partners to develop a Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. This Plan focuses on identifying and evaluating solutions for both near-term challenges such as recycling, special waste management, and improving waste transfer, and long-range challenges such as identifying and evaluating future options for waste management and disposal.

Regarding topics such as solid waste costs, the plan includes information and charts like the one below with data regarding each municipality's changes in costs per household over the past 8 years:

Changes in cost per household for each municipal partner

Further, on the topic of future waste disposal, information was gathered regarding other potential options, such as taking the waste out of the county for disposal or building a waste to energy type of facility.  The following chart was able to be developed with that information, showing the range of costs for each option (basically reflecting a doubling to tripling of costs for out of county disposal and a 3-5 times increase for waste to energy): 

Range of costs for each waste disposal option

The plan is under review with the municipal partners and will be presented to the Board of Commissioners at a date to be determined.
Landfill Construction Project  
Phase 2B Under Development

Phase 2B, an 18-acre section, of the South Wake Landfill is now under construction. With four of nine phases (1A, 1B, 2A & 2B) constructed or under construction, the South Wake Landfill is now in its twelfth year, and already half-way through its development. 

Over the last few weeks, Baxter Johnson Contracting has completed a test pad, installed approximately 25% of the soil liner and has completed the soil sub-grade survey for phase 2B of South Wake Landfill. 

The landfill operator, GFL, has moved all incoming garbage truck traffic over to Phase 1B. Four permanent solar flares were installed along the southern and eastern anchor trench of Phase 2A in order to capture and neutralize any fugitive landfill gas emissions between phase 1B and phase 2A. 

Installation of soil liner in Phase 2B

Over the next few months, Baxter Johnson Contracting will finish all sub-grade preparation, continue to install the soil liner, and start installation of the Geo-membrane liner of Phase 2B. Construction of phase 2B is expected to be complete by October 2020.