Still-burning landfill has been operating illegally, state says

November 8, 2018
South Fulton, GA

By Nefertiti Jaquez

SOUTH FULTON, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned that a landfill that has been burning for more than a month, has been running illegally.

We first told you last week how the landfill that has been making city of South Fulton neighbors sick since it started burning in September. The landfill continues to smolder.

Since her first report last week, Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez has learned that The Georgia Environmental Protection Division is investigating the site for running an unpermitted solid waste handling operation.

“We have to get the owner to uncover whatever’s down there, so we can, again, go in and pour copious amounts of water,” the city’s fire chief said Tuesday night.

While Gina Yielding is happy that we told her the city, county and state are investigating, she’s worried about her family's health because the air quality has deteriorated since NewsChopper 2 captured the fiery scene above Bishop Road last month.

When Jaquez spoke to the city’s fire chief Tuesday, he, too, wasn’t clear if the fire contained hazardous material.

So before he sends his people in, the owner is being forced to sort that out.

"We have to get the owner to go in an uncover whatever is down there so we can go in there (and) pour copious amounts of water, said Fire Chief Larry Few with the city of South Fulton Fire Department.

When we showed the site last week, it appeared crews using heavy equipment were doing just that.

The problem was that this was after Jaquez confirmed the owner does not have a state permit to operate a landfill.

Jaquez contacted the Georgia Environmental Protection Division who released this statement, which said:

“It was a recycling facility, but evolved into an unpermitted solid waste handling operation. The owner has been uncooperative and we are now working on formal enforcement action to bring the facility into compliance with state rules and law.”

When Channel 2 Action News repeatedly asked the city and county to provide us with the owner’s actual business license, the city told us to reach out the county -- and vice versa.

State records show the owner filed for registration in 2004 and that his status was dissolved in 2017 after he stopped paying his annual registration fee.

In 2018, he filed for a new registration for a different company at the same address.

But when we searched the county’s website it showed the current property tax information for the address is “Residential 1 family.”