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July 11, 2012

 

County again considering landfill BUDs

Legislature sets Aug. special meeting after rejecting use of the materials last year

By CATHERINE WILDE
Staff Reporter
cwilde@cortlandstandard.net

Cortland County legislators will once more take up the issue of whether to accept state-approved Beneficial Use Determinant materials at the county landfill.
The county could use the material — things like petroleum contaminated soils and incinerator ash — as daily cover at the landfill, incurring extra revenue and substantially reducing the cost of mining and trucking cover material.
The BUDs could be potentially toxic and are approved only for specific uses by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Legislature rejected the idea last year when it was discussed in connection with the debate about whether to accept outside trash at the landfill.But members of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee on Tuesday decided that if the issue is explored on its own, it stands the best chance of passing.
A special Legislative session will be held at 5 p.m. on Aug. 18 to discuss the idea.
John Troy (D-1st Ward) chairs the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and said after the meeting that he thinks discussing BUD materials separately from the issue of accepting trash from outside the county will make the topic more acceptable to the public.
The committee is trying to address an approximately $400,000 annual loss at the county landfill, a problem legislators could not agree on how to solve last year.
The committee took up the idea of BUDs Tuesday after settling the other area of concern in the county’s Solid Waste Department: the Recycling Center.
The committee authorized Highway Department Superintendent Don Chambers to go out to bid for businesses interested in taking over operations of the Recycling Center next year.
Legislators hope privatizing operations will prevent the county from losing money in future years. The recycling center is expected to have an approximately $120,000 deficit this year.
The county would also get a specified price per ton of recyclable materials the recycling operator sells at market.
The county would lease or rent the facility to a business, eliminating its overhead costs at the facility since the company that takes over operations would be responsible for maintenance.
Troy said he hopes privatizing the center’s operation will put the problem to rest, allowing legislators to focus on the landfill.
Troy said legislators will have to discuss which of the BUD materials on the state approved list the county would want to accept. He anticipates that accepting construction debris would not be problematic but said there could be other materials that would be acceptable but might not be readily available.
“We’ll take a look at what’s out there and what we would accept,” he said.
Once the Legislature decides whether to accept BUDs, Troy said the Solid Waste Committee will start discussing other ways to solve the problems at the landfill.
Highway Chairman Dave Fuller (R-Cincinnatus, Taylor, Freetown and Willet) is charged with overseeing the rewriting of the county’s solid waste local law.
The law must be amended because it is written to forbid all outside materials, even recyclables. However there are no checks on the materials that come in and they are often from out of the county, according to Ernie Dodge who runs the J.M. Murray Center, which has operated the Recycling Center since the beginning of the year.
Troy said the committee will take up that issue with County Attorney Ed Purser in the future to eliminate that conflict.
Fuller said he will look over the law with Purser and highlight portions he thinks need to be changed, such as the wording about accepting trash from contiguous counties. He said some of the BUD material comes from counties that are not contiguous so the wording would have to not be specific to contiguous counties. Fuller said he would not have a problem with accepting incinerator ash.
Fuller said he will take direction from the committee on what to do with the law at the Aug. 18 meeting.

 

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