County puts $400K toward planning two future solid waste facilities

Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 11:51 p.m.

After much discussion and hand-wringing, county commissioners will put $400,000 toward planning and studies for a proposed two-pronged approach to future solid waste operations.

Still, a unanimous vote Tuesday did not settle debate surrounding one of two future solid waste facilities planned to meet the county’s goals of achieving a 75 percent recycling rate and reducing the amount of garbage that is trucked out of the county and buried in a landfill.

There was, however, little debate involving the planned modification of the county’s existing solid waste transfer station, where haulers truck trash before it is brought to a landfill, to a materials recovery facility. At that facility, all bags of trash that cross the scales would be opened and sorted to gather organic materials, such as food waste, and recyclables that were dumped in the trash.

That facility could be key to the future of the county’s solid waste operations. County Attorney Dave Wagner’s legal opinion is that processing all trash brought to the transfer station would give county government the legal authority to institute flow control, meaning all haulers in the county would have to bring waste to a county facility.

That does not happen right now, and a transfer station designed to process 1,000 tons a day now receives 400 tons a day, Public Works Director Richard Hedrick said.

County Manager Randall Reid said if flow control is not instituted, county staff would likely recommend to county commissioners that the county get out of solid waste operations completely.

Of the $400,000 allocated Tuesday from Solid Waste Division reserves, half would go toward permitting and design of that facility.

The other half would go toward permitting, design and a location feasibility study for a planned organics recycling facility where food waste, paper, cardboard and soiled pizza boxes would be brought from the materials recovery facility.

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