Published: Nov 06, 2012 06:00 PM
Modified: Nov 06, 2012 04:10 PM
CHAPEL HILL - A new solid-waste transfer station could be built off Eubanks Road and operated more efficiently if Chapel Hill and Carrboro work together, a consultant says.
Its one of 18 immediate, short-term and long-term steps that SCS Engineers recommends Chapel Hill take to deal with its trash after the Orange County Landfill closes July 1.
The town should continue working with Orange County to handle recycling, yard waste and white goods, the report says.
Town Manager Roger Stancil said the Town Council could review the options again before the end of the year.
The town will start trucking its trash to Durham County next year, either to a city of Durham facility at $42.50 per ton or to Waste Industries under a three-year, $41 per ton contract, SCS Engineers Vice President Bob Dick said. Starting in April or May would allow time to work out any issues, he said.
The transition would require investing $380,000 this year and $341,000 in fiscal 2013-14 in additional trucks, employees and a study of the most efficient technology and collection routes, he said.
Residents could be required to use town-issued carts, costing the town at least $225,000 for new trash carts and $500,000 for new yard waste carts. A hybrid system would back up carts with pay-as-you-throw stickers for additional bags or bulk items, Dick said. The town would have to hire a program coordinator, the report states.
Town Council member Jim Ward suggested creating a system that encourages people to recycle or compost more.
In the short term, the town will consider building its own local or regional transfer station. Over 30 years, it would cost about $71 million to continue shipping trash to Durham and $74 million to use a local facility, Dick said.
Throughout my time here working with the town of Chapel Hill, Ive been reminded by some of you folks and some of the leadership and staff that Chapel Hill has other considerations. Chapel Hill doesnt always pick the cheapest alternative, he said.
The town would gain flexibility and self-sufficiency with its own station, while creating local jobs and reducing traffic, vehicle wear and tear and fuel costs, he said.
The report identifies a 10-acre, town-owned site on Millhouse Road for a waste transfer station with the potential for expansion.
Collaborating with Carrboro would make it more economical, Dick said. Planning could start next year for a roughly $2.3 million town-only station or a $2.8 million station with Carrboro, the report states. Annual operating expenses could be $342,000 to $446,400, respectively.
Carrboro Public Works Director George Seiz said the town is open to talks about working together. Carrboro also is deciding whether to send its trash to Durham or Waste Industries, he said.
A partnership also could give Chapel Hill a chance to try out one of Carrboros fully automated trucks, which pick up trash using a mechanical arm while the driver stays seated. Carrboro has used the trucks since 2004.
Other suggestions include changing commercial and multi-family collections, including less service and an earlier start time. Public works also could audit the number of households exempt from putting trash bins at the curb. About 900 of the towns 11,500 customers, or 8 percent, receive back door and alley service, the report states.
Over the long term, the council could consider collecting residential waste every other week, removing more organic materials and investing in waste-to-energy conversion technology.
The study recommends against outsourcing commercial or residential trash pickup, a stand-alone materials recovery facility or building a new landfill.