Just think of it as a doctor checkup with the inevitable already determined.
The only question left for the Baker Place Road Landfill in Columbia County is exactly what month it will meet its demise next year.
This month, a six-month checkup of the landfill will help answer that question, with surveyors gauging the elevation of a mound at the landfill where garbage is being disposed.
The landfill is required to have a survey conducted on its capacity at least once a year, but that's happening about every six months at the Baker Place site. Another survey is planned for June or July.
"What that's going to do is help us to keep a handle on it so when we run out of space, we're going to know way before then so you can make those final plans," Mr. Bartles said.
Past projections have shown the landfill reaching its capacity in June. But Mr. Bartles said that going by the estimated amount of allowed space remaining at the landfill and the average flow of garbage there, that projection might be a few months off.
"All those being accurate numbers, you're looking at the back end of 2005" for a closing, he said.
The survey this month, he said, will verify exactly how much "air space" the landfill has left to fill up.
"It will take about two weeks before we get the numbers," Mr. Bartles said. "So I'd say by the second week in January we ought to be close to having a new date for the closing on the landfill. And then we'll begin to publish that date to the public."
The landfill was built to last 10 years and is in its ninth year. After it's closed, monitoring must take place for 30 years.
When the landfill closes, Columbia County's trash will be headed to a Richmond County landfill.
Columbia County residents, however, should still be able to haul items such as refrigerators to a transfer station being planned by the regional company Advance Disposal, on Columbia Road in Appling near the Baker Place Road Landfill.
Reach Preston Sparks at 868-1222, ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.