Wake County

Solid Waste Management Division

Winter 2020
Next Meeting
South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee

The South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee meets every six months, in March and September.  The next  meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. 

Field Office, 6025 Old Smithfield Rd

Location: Meetings are held at the field office at the 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.
Public Landfill Tours
New Schedule for 2020

Residents touring the South Wake Landfill 
Have you ever wondered what happens to your trash once it leaves the curb? Wake County Solid Waste offers FREE guided tours of the  South Wake Landfill  in Apex to residents wanting to learn more about what happens to their trash. 

In addition to touring an active landfill and watching  compactors  and bulldozers burying trash, participants will also get to ride to the top of a closed cell (440 ft above sea level), and ride to a Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant.  Tours take 60 minutes. 

2020 Tour Dates: 
  • Learn how to reduce waste at home
  • Learn how to recycle more than you can leave out at the curb
  • Learn how trash is being used to make energy
  • Learn what items can be harmful if you put them in the trash
Seating is limited. Registration is required.  Click here to  register or to learn more about touring the South Wake Landfill.
Happy Trails
Christmas Tree Recycling

Wake County residents are encouraged to recycle their real Christmas trees from Thursday, December 26, 2019 through Sunday, January 26, 2020. 

Trees collected will be used to mulch trails at  County Parks The following Wake County Convenience Centers will accept trees daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:
The following Wake County Parks will accept trees daily from from 8 a.m. until sunset:
Christmas trees must be undecorated (remove ornaments, tinsel, lights).  For more information about the program   click here.  
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 July through December 2019. 

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
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 .
Landfill Odors: 
Important Improvements Update

Wake County Solid Waste along with our landfill operations partner, GFL Environmental, continue to pursue a variety of landfill odor mitigating strategies.  Our primary focus this fall and early winter was the pilot testing of a new foam based Alternative Daily Cover (ADC).  The landfill must be closed every night after the waste stops coming in at 4 PM (Mon. - Sat.).  Using 6" of soil is our best odor fighting daily closure strategy, however, with all the rain we've been getting the past couple of years, the consistent use of soil has proven to be impossible.  The Rusmar Foam alternative pilot test has unfortunately had its shortcomings including unreliable equipment operation as well as poor results when it rains after placement.  

GFL Environmental is currently pursuing three other items to assist with landfill odors.  There is another type of ADC that they are investigating and will most likely pursue another pilot in the coming months.  Furthermore, they are installing an odor misting system on the main compactor that will run first thing in the morning and at other times when wind direction is an issue during daily operations.  That is expected to be installed by the end of this month (January).  Finally, they are researching the possibility of a different odor neutralizing compound for use in the current daily closure procedure.  The existing vapor based odor system has finally been operating on a consistent basis after some modifications this past fall and we expect that to continue.

Our Solid Waste Division continues to work to improve the landfill gas collection system through maintaining and tuning wells and well pumps on a frequent basis (and adding wells and well pumps as the landfill grows).  The automated well heads that were installed last year, continue in use and are adjusted based upon regular review of data.  The Envirosuite  software and hardware (odor monitoring devices and weather station) are all finally in-place and operating correctly.  We will be releasing our new odor complaint website/link next week.  Note that this will continue to be a website link (that can be used essentially as an app on your phone) in lieu of a formal phone application.  With the use of Envirosuite, we will be able to provide better data for viewing (for these updates and at community meetings) and allow us to verify complaints.  Additionally, we now have a tool that allows us to look up to 48 hours in advance of what times odors may be most problematic and use that information to adjust our efforts on-site (running vapor based odor system in full mode, using dirt for cover if possible, increasing the landfill gas system extraction, etc.) - see the screenshot below (that shows wind direction and speed as well as the potential "plume" of odor):

Wake County's Solid Waste Management Division, along with our landfill operator (GFL Environmental), have put into place numerous operational and constructed solutions that unfortunately have not been fully satisfactory in minimizing odor complaints.  As stated above we are continually evaluating various methodologies to minimize odors.  It is important to note that due to proximity there is no solution currently available that will eliminate all possible chances for occasional odors, especially at the nearby neighborhoods (less than half mile).  The goal is to minimize the occurrence and duration of those events. 
We believe the combination of items described above will provide the best opportunity to minimize odor related impacts. 
Please be aware that our facilities are not the only potential source of odor related issues in the area.  There is a privately-owned construction & demolition landfill next door to us (to the north next to 540) as well as both a municipal wastewater plant to our north (near Bojangles on 55) and south (Holly Springs industrial park off Green Oaks Parkway).
Please contact the Wake County Solid Waste Division if additional information is needed or if there are any further questions.
Changes to the Trash Pass Program
Enclosed Trailers Now Require a Trash Pass

Beginning in January 2020 a  Trash Pass will now be required for all residents using enclosed trailers, as well as box trucks, and dual-axle trailers at Wake County Convenience Centers.  Residents are able to use  a single-axle open trailer and all other vehicles at Convenience Centers without  a Trash Pass. 

The Trash Pass Program was launched in 2018 at Convenience Centers 

Wake County Convenience Centers are funded by an annual $20 household fee, paid for by residents, not businesses. Contractors are not allowed to use residential facilities to drop off commercial waste and should use  private facilities instead. 

However, d espite this rule, we have seen an increase in contractors using Convenience Centers to dispose of construction waste, which has led to increased costs, and wait times at many Convenience Centers. 

By restricting box trucks, dual-axle trailers and enclosed trailers without a Trash Pass, most contractors are restricted from using Convenience Centers

To apply for a Trash Pass simply follow this link and complete the online application. Based upon review of your application, a seven-day (maximum) Trash Pass will be issued to use a box truck, dual-axle trailer, or enclosed trailer at a Convenience Center. Trash Passes can take up to two business days to process, so make sure to apply for it in advance. 
Reduce Waste Sent to Landfill 
This Holiday Season and Beyond...

Did you know that between Thanksgiving and New Year household waste increases by 25%? Let Wake County help you reduce that number with the use of our free waste and recycling facilities:


1. Broken or unwanted holiday lights can be recycled in scrap metal containers at Convenience Centers


2. Was fried turkey or ham on the menu this holiday season? Recycle your used cooking oil at Multi-material Recycling Facilities


3. Too many boxes to fit in your curbside recycling bin after the holidays? Recycle extra cardboard at Convenience Centers


4. If you cannot finish your holiday feast it can be composted in the food waste recycling bins at Convenience Center sites # 4, 7 & 8. Coming soon to site # 2!

Bird Mania Is Back!
Gulls and Eagles Galore
Gulls line the horizon at the South Wake Landfill in January.

Bald Eagle at the landfill 
Photo Courtesy of John Williams
If it has feathers, wings, and a beak, and likes to scavenge, chances are its kin has made a visit to the South Wake Landfill at some point. 
Starting from early November and continuing through March, the South Wake Landfill becomes a local meetup spot for migratory Gulls and Bald Eagles nesting at nearby Jordan Lake. 
Daily at dawn thousands of Gulls and dozens of  Bald Eagles depart Jordan Lake and head to the South Wake  Landfill. Here they soon become embattled in a feeding frenzy. Whether they find a meal or become the meal, r est assured these feathery flocks will head back to Jordan Lake by sunset. A s soon as the weather warms up, the Gulls will  depart for their summer home in the Great Lakes, around the end of March.  
Interested in capturing a close-up of a majestic Bald Eagle in flight or a rare Glaucous Gull? Take a public landfill tour between December and February, and you will not be disappointed. To learn more  or to sign-up for a tour   click here