Frequently Asked Questions

Key Features of the South Wake Landfill

Landfill Size and Key Elements

  • 179 acres of disposal area
  • 290 acres of buffer and soil excavation area
  • Household and commercial waste disposal
  • Citizen drop-off facilities at the site
  • Opened in February 2008
  • Citizen Committee to connect with community

​Total County Waste Generation and Landfill Needs

  • Total County population – 1.112 million (2019)
  • Total municipal waste generation – 650,000 tons in 2009, 800,000 tons in 2016
  • Municipal/County partnership process concluded that in-county landfill was best option
  • Need to provide for 25-year disposal capacity
  • Due to significant increases in recycling efforts, the total disposal volumes at the South Wake Landfill are approximately 475,000–500,000 tons per year.

Landfill Impact On County Taxes and Property Values

  • Operates on enterprise fund system – no County taxes
  • $20 per year County household fee for other facilities
  • Studies show impacts are in the planning period.
  • Property values around North Wake Landfill escalate at or above average.

Environmental Considerations

  • Impermeable Synthetic Base Liner System  to protect water quality
  • Monitoring to protect groundwater
  • Gas system and monitoring to protect air
  • Minimized wetlands disturbance
  • Leachate to Holly Springs sewer system
  • Operating protocol to stop unacceptable waste
  • Site and roadside litter clean-up protocol

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the landfill open? When is it expected to close?

The South Wake Landfill opened in February 2008 as was designed for 25 years' worth of capacity.

Based on how much garbage Wake County generates today, the landfill is currently estimated to operate until 2040.

Where is the South Wake Landfill and how big is it?

The South Wake Landfill is located southwest of the intersection of Old Smithfield Road and Highway 55 Bypass, in Apex NC. The landfill covers 471 acres; 179 acres will be used for the burial of waste, 290 acres make up buffers and soil excavation areas.

Are chemicals used to treat the odors at the landfill?

Yes. Plant based, non-toxic chemicals are used to neutralize odors at the landfill.  

Why do the seagulls come?

The gulls arrive in the fall (early-mid November), from the Great Lakes. They stay for the mild winter and depart in the spring (mid-late March). 

How high will the landfill be when it is finished?

The landfill is expected to reach 520 ft above sea level. The surrounding area in Holly Springs ranges from 300 to 400 feet (Mean Sea Level). 

Will I be able to see the landfill from Highway 55 Bypass?

Currently, trees in the buffer area between the landfill and Highway 55 block the landfill from view. See the South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee visualization study forvisualizations of how the landfill will affect the landscape in years to come. 

Will my property value be impacted by the landfill?

Studies from across the United States show that any impact from a landfill on property value occurs during site planning and permitting. Once a landfill is operational, there is generally not a negative impact on property value. According to the Wake County Revenue Director, property values at the County's North Wake Landfill increased 49% from 1992 to 2000, compared to the County average increase of 43%. Since 2000, property values have increased in line with the County average.

Who operates the landfill?

Wake County has a 25-year contract with GFL, Environmental Inc., formerly known as Waste Industries, to operate the South Wake Landfill. 

Will my County property tax go up because of the landfill?

No. The landfill is part of an enterprise fund; this means that the tipping fees collected for the disposal of waste cover the cost of operating the landfill. The County’s general budget does not fund the South Wake Landfill. 

How will water quality/air quality be affected by the landfill?

Today's landfills are designed with an impermeable liner system to separate the trash from coming into contact with the natural surrounding soils and water table. The liner system collects any rainwater that comes in contact with the trash, and pipes it into a holding tank, where it is pre-treated and then piped to a wastewater treatment plant via the public sewer system. The groundwater around the landfill is routinely monitored through an extensive system of perimeter wells to ensure that the liner system is performing as expected. The results of the sampling of the wells are submitted to the State on a semiannual basis. The landfill has an air quality permit issued by the State that requires routine sampling of air emissions from the landfill. The air quality permit requires that any gases generated by the landfill are destroyed, either as a fuel source or in a flare, to prevent emission of methane into the environment. 

What kinds of waste are accepted at the landfill?

The South Wake Landfill is permitted to take municipal solid waste. Municipal solid waste consists of general household waste, waste from commercial businesses, waste disposed of at Convenience Centers located around the County and non-hazardous waste from industries. The South Wake Landfill will not accept waste from outside the County.  

I’ve heard something about a South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee. What is the purpose of the Citizens Committee?

A committee for neighbors of the landfill has been organized to assist the County with development and continued operations of the landfill.

The South Wake Landfill Citizens Committee brings together a group of people who live in the surrounding areas of the landfill site and who are interested in having a voice in the continued operations of the landfill and assist the County in analysis of issues and in the decision-making process that occurs from the present time to the closing of the landfill. The primary purpose of the Citizens Committee is for the individual members of the committee to act as representatives of their particular subdivision and town, and to act as liaisons between homeowners’ associations, town councils and the County on any issues that need to be addressed regarding the landfill throughout its operating life. 

The Citizens Committee meets semi-annually at the South Wake Waste Management Field Office, 6025 Old Smithfield Road, Apex, NC, 27539. 

Will the Committee have a real impact?

Public participation is strongly encouraged by Wake Countyand in particular a division that interacts with the public on a regular basis like the Solid Waste Management Division. We are all citizens and we understand the importance and value of having citizen partners as a resource. A landfill committee formed at the North Wake Landfill met for 18months and determined how the 300-plus acres of county land would be used after the landfill was closed to best benefit the citizens in the area and the wider community. The effort of the citizens resulted in the development of a comprehensive land use plan that reflected the recommendations of the committee. As a result of these efforts, one of the County's newest parks,Green Hills CountyPark, was constructed. 

Who serves on the Citizens Committee?

Volunteers willing to commit their time and energy. The Citizens Committee will have direct input to developing policies and procedures, general landscape philosophies, additional solid waste services needed or desired in the area and ensuring that the South Wake Landfill will be a good neighbor.