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New contract to lock in cost of 12k tons of waste disposal yearly.

The Coffee County Rural Solid Waste Committee has voted to enter in a new contract with Southern Central Waste Services (SCWS), which will extend its agreement for up to seven years and lock in the fees the county pays for disposal of waste.

The county has 10 convenience centers where waste is collected. This waste is then transported by the solid waste department to the SCWS transfer station in McMinnville, where that waste is loaded to vehicles and transferred to its final landfill destination.

SCWS has a contract with Santek Waste Services, which owns a landfill in Rhea County, Tennessee. That's where the waste collected by the SCWS transfer station ends up.

Currently, the county has a contract with SCWS which expires in 18 months and can be extended for two years. The contract determines the fee the county pays for disposal of waste, establishing the fee to be $45 a ton.

The fees paid for disposal of waste are typically levied upon a certain quantity of waste received at the waste facility. With fees expected to go up, members of the rural solid waste committee hope to enter in the new contract for five years, with two, 1-year extensions to keep the $45 fee.

David Reed with SCWS explained during the meeting of the committee on Wednesday how the fees are going up and how he can guarantee to keep that price.

"The rates are going up," Reed said. "Extending the contract will save money to the county."

The fees are levied to offset the cost of maintaining the facility and include landfill tax and other applicable fees. With regulations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tightening, the fees are expected to go up significantly. Many landfills already have increased their prices.

With EPA committed to taking action on climate change and protecting health, it has taken steps to reduce emissions of methane-rich gas from municipal solid waste landfills. The regulations would increase expenses for landfill owners but are expected to reduce methane emissions.

Municipal solid waste landfills are the second-largest source of methane emissions in the United States, accounting for 20 percent of methane emissions in 2014. Methane is a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times that of carbon dioxide, according to the EPA.

Reed said SCWS has a 10-year contract that locks in the fees SCWS has to pay. The contract is with Santek Waste Services, which owns the landfill in Rhea County used by SCWS.

"I currently have a locked-in rate, so you can take advantage of that," Reed said. "My contract is for 10 years."

Another reason for the expected increase of waste disposal fees is the limited space for landfills and the fact that after landfills reach full capacity, they can't continue to operate.

"The space for waste is getting smaller and smaller," said Commissioner Tim Morris, member of rural solid waste committee. "There is more and more garbage and less available space, so the price is not going to go down, it's going to go up."

For example, Morris said, Middle Point Landfill in Murfreesboro is going to be full in about five years.

The new contract would guarantee the price for seven years instead of the three-and-a-half years guaranteed currently, and it has a potential to save hundreds of thousands of dollars for the county.

"We dispose of about 10,000-to-12,000 tons a year," Morris said. "So if the price goes from $45 to $48, that's $30,000 to $40,000 of savings just there. Some (prices) have gone up to about $60, so that can be about $150,000 a year. There is a potential right now to save a lot of money."

All members voted to enter in a five-year contract providing for two, 1-year extensions with SCWS. The contract has to be reviewed by Coffee County Attorney Robert Huskey and approved by the county full commission, which meets on March 14.

Source: Elena Cawley, The News
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Publication:Solid Waste Report
Date:Feb 13, 2017
Words:665
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