12/27/07 — County plans changes in some solid waste sites

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County plans changes in some solid waste sites

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 27, 2007 2:23 PM

Residents in Fremont, Eureka and in the Jordans Chapel area of Wayne County will get to keep their solid waste convenience centers a little while longer, but county officials are still looking to make changes in the coming months.

In the south, they are hoping to expand the Grantham site and eventually phase out Jordans Chapel. While in the north, they are still looking for a location for a new combined site between Fremont and Eureka.

The goal, County Manager Lee Smith explained, is to increase cost efficiency for the county and convenience for residents.

Currently, according to solid waste Director Tim Rogers, because of the low tonnage and low number of customers, disposal costs at Fremont, Eureka and Jordans Chapel are between $500 and $600 a ton. In the more heavily used Pikeville, Rosewood and Patetown sites, however, disposal costs run between $66 and $76 per ton.

Fremont, Eureka and Jordans Chapel also are faced with environmental concerns regarding their septic systems.

But Smith hopes that by offering full service sites at Grantham and a new two-acre location in the north, those will be able to pick up any resulting slack when the others are closed.

At Grantham, the county is looking to improve the site's paving and fencing. They also want to expand what the site can collect by installing four new concrete pads and boxes for scrap metal, appliances and furniture.

"We're eager to get that started," Smith said.

The project's cost is estimated to be about $27,500.

The cost of building a new site in the north -- one that would handle regular trash and recycling, as well as farm pesticide, scrap metal, appliance and furniture disposal -- is estimated to be $156,500.

The combined cost of upgrading the Fremont and Eureka sites is an estimated $111,000, though Smith noted again the operational inefficiencies of those centers.

"If you look at those three sites, we just don't have the customers," he said. "But we'll keep them open until all that work is complete."

But the county doesn't plan to stop its improvements next year at the convenience centers. There's also work to be done at the landfill itself.

Currently, Smith explained, when people bring trash to the landfill, they often drive back and dump it themselves.

What they are hoping to do next year, will be to basically build a convenience center at the landfill's entrance.

By expanding the area immediately beyond the scales and installing more boxes, Smith continued, they will reduce the need for private vehicles to drive through the landfill itself.

"It's a convenience issue, as well as a safety issue," he said.

It also, he explained, will allow the solid waste department to change its operating procedures.

By dumping all that trash from the containers on top of the pile, rather than from the bottom, operators will be able to compact it from the top down, rather than from the bottom up -- a process that will cause less wear and tear on the machines and will use less fuel.

That expansion is likely to cost several hundred thousand dollars, though no exact estimates have been gathered yet. Regardless, though, Smith said, the money will likely be available in the solid waste department's budget.

"They're finding enough in operational savings to pay for these capital costs," Smith said. "We're changing the way we do business.

"I think there will be a recommendation (for these projects) in January."