Published: Dec 11, 2012 04:33 PM
Modified: Dec 11, 2012 05:54 PM
CHAPEL HILL - The county and towns will go their separate ways with trash when the landfill closes June 30 but will continue to cooperate on recycling and other special collections.
Chapel Hill will be the first to go in April when it starts trucking trash to a private Waste Industries transfer station in southeast Durham. The town will pay $41 per ton under a three-year contract.
Carrboro, Hillsborough and Orange County will start moving their trash by July 1 to a city of Durham transfer station on Club Boulevard. The city of Durham charges $42.50 per ton, but its station is closer and will require less gas and vehicle maintenance. The county is considering a five-year agreement, Assistant County Manager Michael Talbert said.
Talbert said the county and towns together generate about 200 tons of trash each day, less than 20 percent of Durham’s total capacity.
“They have capacity to help us; they’re willing to help us,” he said. Plus, “if we come up with a regional solution at some point, Durham could actually partner for waste-to-energy, newer technologies, whatever evolves over the next five to 10 years.”
The county is upgrading all five rural convenience centers. Eventually, the Walnut Grove center and possibly one on Eubanks Road could offer longer hours and more recycling options, he said.
The county also announced it will buy 96-gallon, roll-out recycling bins using RFID – radio frequency identification – technology.
“We were ready to purchase them last year, but we just suspended it until we were sure that we were all still going to partner on recycling,” Commissioners Chairman Barry Jacobs said.
The new bins will let customers recycle more and different products. Governments could measure how much waste a customer generates, potentially leading to a pay-as-you-throw system. It might make people think twice about recycling or composting food waste instead of throwing it away, Carrboro Alderman Sammy Slade said.
The county and towns would draft a new interlocal agreement to cover the recycling partnership and could re-establish the Solid Waste Advisory Board. They also discussed the possibility of bringing UNC, which handles its own trash, to the table.
“I think down the road, we really need to focus on the future, and we need to get ahead of the game now, because we learned our lesson that we didn’t get ahead of the game on this one,” Commissioner Penny Rich said.
Carrboro also is considering whether to join Chapel Hill in building and operating a local solid waste transfer station. The Chapel Hill Town Council asked staff last week to find out how much Waste Management and other private waste companies would charge.
A report from waste consultant SCS Engineers said planning for a roughly $2.3 million Chapel Hill-only station or a $2.8 million Chapel Hill-Carrboro station could start next year. Annual operating expenses could be $342,000 to $446,400, respectively. The consultant proposes using a 10-acre, town-owned lot on Millhouse Road. The lot is near the existing landfill, Chapel Hill Transit and the town’s Public Works campus – less than a mile from another site identified in 2009.
It would generate the same amount of truck traffic as the landfill does today, Chapel Hill Town Manager Roger Stancil said.
Rogers Road neighbors opposed the 2009 site, largely because it extended the landfill property and could have affected schools, homes and future recreation areas.
David Caldwell, director of the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association, said the new plan has a lot of variables and would have a greater impact on Millhouse and Blackwood Mountain residents than on his neighbors. He is waiting to see how the plan develops, he said.