August 19, 2004

County Closes Trash Compactor

Escalating prices for refuse service have forced Scotland County to close the trash compactor located at the fairgrounds effective immediately. The county commission announced the site would no longer be available for public use after meeting with representatives of Onyx Waste Services, Inc.

I discussed the issue with Roger Smith of Onyx and he informed us the site simply was to expensive to maintain at the current time, stated Presiding Commissioner Mike Stephenson.

The company indicated the site was not going to be maintained due to higher costs of transporting refuse, landfill rates and declining use of the compactor.

The county also reviewed the possibility of running the site but determined it too costly.

Our last year that we ran the compactor it cost the county $8,000 and thats just too much, Stephenson stated. Thats half the cost of a small bridge.

Stephenson indicated the costs for hauling the trash had risen from $22 a ton to approximately $38 a ton and noted even if the county doubled its rates it would not break even.

Commissioner Roger Riebel stated the compactor had been built in the early 1970s under the direction of Ward Benson. It opened in 1975 and was run by the county until the early 1990s. At that time the county leased the compactor for $1 to City Sanitation which later became Waste Management.

But due to differences in the new companies hauling structures the compactor no longer is economically feasible. Stephenson stated that Onyx indicated it would have continued to operate the facility as a service to the community if it could have came close to breaking even.

They indicated that they would need about 80 tons a day to go through the compactor to make it break even financially, Stephenson said. Right now by our best estimates there is only about 10 tons a week processed there.

The commissioners noted that Onyx was surprised that a county this small was capable of maintaining the facility as long as Scotland County had under the current financial situation.

The county does plan to maintain the facility and retain the DNR license in case the site can be utilized at a future date.

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