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Trash disposal costs rising
County combines with city to dispose of waste
Trash leadWeb
A truck loads up on compacted trash and garbage at the city/county station off Lakeview Road. The bales of trash are then trucked to a landfill in Jesup. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
      The removal of more than 85,000 tons of solid waste each year from Bulloch County requires a joint effort from both the city of Statesboro and the county. As co-operators of the county landfill site located on Lakeview Road, both entities are striving to create as streamlined of an operation as possible in an era of increasing costs.
       "All of the solid waste collected in the city and county is processed through our transfer station and then hauled to the Broadhurst Regional Landfill in Wayne County," said Shane Haynes, Statesboro city manager.   "There hasn't been any trash buried in this landfill in quite a long time. By the summer of 2009, an expansion will begin on the current transfer station and recycling center that will increase both the capacity and the efficiency of both services in order to better meet the growing needs of our citizens."
       It may come as a surprise to many local residents that the city of Statesboro owns and operates the transfer station for solid waste collection while Bulloch County owns and operates the adjoining recycling center. Both are located at the site of the now dormant county landfill.
       "Disposing of waste is a very expensive proposition," said Bulloch County manager Tom Couch. "Between the city and the county, I would estimate that the annual cost of waste disposal right now is around ten million dollars. That is a lot of money, but it has to be done."
       Couch said the county operates 16 convenience centers where residents who don't contract with private haulers can bring their trash and materials for recycling. "We would like to have more, but there is an expense involved, so we have to weigh potential usage of the facility against the cost of acquiring the site and operating it."
       The recycling operation is relatively new, but according to Couch, it is beginning to bear fruit. "Recycling generates around $205,000 annually," he said. "Recyclables on average produce $53 per ton in revenue versus $36 per ton for taking it to the Broadhurst Landfill in Jesup. Add the positive benefits of buying fewer future air rights, and I would assume a positive benefit."
       "Air rights" is the terminology applied to the acquisition of space in a landfill. According to Haynes, Broadhurst owns the air rights at the Wayne County facility and charges a tonnage fee to all that utilize the facility.
       "We have an existing five year contract with Broadhurst right now that is automatically renewable," Haynes said. "There is approximately 20 years of life or space left in the Broadhurst Regional Landfill, and the company just purchased an additional 100 acres for expansion of the landfill that will extend the useful life of the site."
       Couch said the enlargement of the local transfer and recycling facilities should address the demands of the solid waste operation for the foreseeable future.
       "I would think that once the additions are completed, this facility will be able to handle what it needs to for the next ten years or so," he said. "We are trying to look ahead as much as is fiscally responsible to do so."
      A potential key factor to reducing costs will be an increase in recycling.
       "Both the city and county are exploring ways to encourage recycling efforts to reduce the amount of solid waste transferred to the landfill in an effort to reduce costs and to create a positive impact on the local environment," said Haynes.
       Haynes did point out that the Bulloch County site still accepts inert materials.
       "You can bring stumps, dirt, cement, asphalt, leaves, limbs, etc.," said Haynes. "Leaves, limbs and trees are ground into mulch and removed for use around the city and county in public parks and landscape areas. A small tonnage remains for the public to use at no cost."