In what was billed as a public informational meeting at Olive Branch Baptist Church, organizers made clear that their goal is to stop a commercial landfill from becoming the church’s neighbor.
The Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization and Savannah lawyer Donald Stack’s firm planned Thursday night’s gathering. About 100 people, most of them Black Creek and Ellabell community residents, filled the small sanctuary of the rural church, which is near the Ogeechee River tributary called Black Creek and within earshot of I-16.
Pooler-based Atlantic Waste Services wants to build a 268-acre landfill within a 1,168-acre tract the company owns between the stream and the interstate.
One purpose of the meeting was to counteract misconceptions that the issue had already been decided, Riverkeeper Dianna Wedincamp said in her opening remarks.
“A lot of folks are getting mixed information in the community … but we need to make sure that everybody is on the same page with the information and they know that it’s neither a done deal nor is it gone,” Wedincamp said.
She added that the opposition leadership is trying to keep community residents informed “to make sure that we oppose this in an organized fashion.”
Mentioning a fish kill that occurred upstream earlier this year, Wedincamp and Stack characterized the landfill as another threat to the river. The die-off led to a recent $1 million state environmental cleanup consent order against King America Finishing, a textile coloring plant in Screven County.
“We know that landfills leak,” Wedincamp said. “We know that this landfill is going to be on Black Creek. We know that this is going to have a negative effect on the environment in this area and on the Ogeechee.”
Read more in the Oct. 1 edition of the News