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Posted on: April 10, 2017

Questions and Answers about Privatization

What factors contribute to the City garbage rates?  Activities within the garbage business can generally be broken down into two broad categories:  Collection and Disposal.  Collection refers to activities and equipment required to pick up waste from households and businesses.  Disposal refers to how that waste is handled, moved, sorted, and ultimately disposed.  Disposal facilities can include landfills, transfer stations, recycling centers, and other similar facilities that receive waste from customers, whether those customers are garbage collectors, private businesses, or individual residents.  Both Collections and Disposal activities have their own associated costs.  In the City of Green River, your monthly garbage bill includes costs for both Collections and Disposal.

So what’s driving the cost increases in Green River - Collections or Disposal?  While the City of Green River has historically provided both Collections and Disposal services, the big changes in the City’s garbage system are happening on the Disposal side.  The City’s landfill will close this summer, and the City is building a transfer station to provide a local facility for residents to dispose of their wastes that don’t fit in their curbside cart.  Once our landfill closes, all the waste collected by the City trucks and the waste that is brought to the transfer station will be sent to another landfill for final disposal, where we will have to pay that landfill’s disposal fees.

Why can’t we just keep the landfill open? The Green River landfill was opened prior to the implementation of strict Federal standards imposed on landfills to protect groundwater.  We have been able to operate our landfill under the old standards for many years, but we have understood that the tighter standards would eventually be required at our facility.  Several years ago it was determined that meeting the tighter standards at our landfill would cost us more than exporting our waste to another landfill that was already meeting those standards.

What is the City doing to address these cost increases?  In conjunction with our recent rate analysis, the City also completed a solid waste operations study that identified several areas where the City could improve the efficiency of its operations.  We are examining some of the labor-intensive services we offer to determine whether they are worth continuing.  We are also exploring ways to streamline the recycling program to make it easier for residents and less labor-intensive for staff.  With the construction of the new transfer station, we are evaluating the days of the week and hours of the day the facility will be open to provide a level of service that will be satisfactory to our customers.

Won’t these higher rates lead to more illegal dumping?  It’s hard to say why people dump illegally.  In Green River, the standard monthly residential garbage bill covers both Collections and Disposal.  This means that residential customers can bring pick-up truck-sized loads to the landfill (or transfer station) for no additional fee.  This fee structure is specifically intended to combat illegal dumping, but it still happens.  There is just no excuse!  If you see someone dumping illegally dumping, call Dispatch at 875-1400 and turn them in.

Where’s the money coming from to build the transfer station?  Is that why we have these increases?  A large majority of the funds for the transfer station construction are from the Cease and Transfer Grant the City received from the State.  This grant is also paying for over half of our landfill closure costs.  Without this grant, our monthly rates would have been even higher to cover the landfill closure costs, and we would have been left with no local Disposal site once the landfill closes.

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