Yard Debris Ordinance
Clarification of Ordinance Amendment Requiring Bagging of Yard Debris
After reviewing recent newspaper articles and considering the public input in County Council Meetings, it is apparent that there is a need for clarification of the proposed solid waste ordinance amendment requiring bagging of yard debris.
The proposed bagging requirement is a part of the larger effort to comply with the County's National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The primary goal of the proposed ordinance is to improve water quality by keeping yard debris, such as leaves and grass clippings, out of storm drainage systems and, ultimately, out of the County's streams, rivers and lakes.
The primary goal of the proposed bagging requirement is not:
- to reduce the maintenance required on the County's storm drainage infrastructure—although it is a secondary benefit that will be realized if the amendment is adopted.
- to begin a composting operation—although such an operation could be incorporated if the Council desires.
- a requirement for homeowners to rake the leaves from their yards. If the homeowner wishes to leave the yard in a natural state, or compost yard waste, he or she may do so.
As proposed, the ordinance will only apply to properties that are one acre or less in residentially zoned districts. Yard debris must be placed in a biodegradable bag or reusable container and place the debris at curbside for collection. Bagging of yard debris prior to placing it at curbside should improve the aesthetics of neighborhoods by not allowing loose debris to be piled at the curbside.
Leading by example
Other jurisdictions already have bagging requirements. For example, the City of Greenville requires bagging except during “leaf season” (the time of year at which leaves are falling at the highest rate), and the City of Charleston requires bagging year round. The purchase of the bags in both jurisdictions is the homeowner's responsibility.
Fines and penalties
The fine for violation of the proposed bagging requirement would be $1,087. While some have questioned the fine as being too exorbitant, it should be noted that this fine is not being proposed specifically for violations of the bagging requirement; instead, this is the standard fine for the majority of County Code violations, which constitute a misdemeanor.
For complete details of the ordinance, please refer to the link below to the official ordinance proposing the bagging of yard debris. This document received second reading approval by Richland County on December 16th 2008 and received a public hearing on February 3rd 2009. This proposed ordinance is tentatively scheduled to receive third reading by Richland County Council on April 7Included on this link is the ordinance proposing the bagging of yard debris. This document received second reading approval by Richland County on December 16th 2008 and received a public hearing on February 3rd 2009. This proposed ordinance is tentatively scheduled to receive third reading by Richland County Council on October 27, 2009.
Proposed Ordinance Regarding the Bagging of Yard Debris
Public Comments & Response:
In between February 24th and May 29th, 2009, Richland County had accepted written public comments for the Council amended solid waste ordinance. Thank you for submitting comments and being part of this massive effort. Responses by County’s Staff for the comments received can be found at the link below.
Public Comments Response
This ordinance received first reading by County Council on October 7, 2008 and second reading on December 16, 2008. County Council amended the ordinance to apply it for only residentially zoned areas for one acre or less. It had a public hearing on February 03, 2009. Council requested to tie the ordinance to Stormwater Ordinance changes and to have four Public forums before third reading.
The most recent reading of the ordinance will occur at the Council meeting on Tuesday, October 16, 2013.
Comments and Questions
You can still submit your questions. Please submit comments regarding the proposed solid waste ordinance by filling out this comment card and submitting it to County Staff during the public forums or faxing to (803) 576-2137. The comment cards will be provided at public forums for any of the last minute questions.
Learn more about the ordinance changes
Public Forums Presentation